IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Making Autocracy Work

  • Besley, Timothy J.
  • Kudamatsu, Masayuki

One of the key goals of political economy is to understand how institutional arrangements shape policy outcomes. This paper studies a comparatively neglected aspect of this - the forces that shape heterogeneous performance of autocracies. The paper develops a simple theoretical model of accountability in the absence of regularized elections. Leadership turnover is managed by a selectorate - a group of individuals on whom the leader depends to hold onto power. Good policy is institutionalized when the selectorate removes poorly performing leaders from office. This requires that the selectorate’s hold on power is not too dependent on a specific leader being in office. The paper looks empirically at spells of autocracy to establish cases where it has been successful according to various objective criteria. We use these case studies to identify the selectorate in specific instances of successful autocracy. We also show that, consistent with the theory, leadership turnover in successful autocracies is higher than in unsuccessful autocracies. Finally, we show by exploiting leadership deaths from natural causes that successful autocracies appear to have found ways for selectorates to nominate successors without losing power - a feature which is also consistent with the theoretical approach.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=6371
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6371.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6371
Contact details of provider: Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information: Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Angus Deaton, 1999. "Commodity Prices and Growth in Africa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 23-40, Summer.
  3. Jones, Benjamin & Olken, Benjamin, 2007. "Hit or Miss? The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War," CEPR Discussion Papers 6298, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," NBER Working Papers 10568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521583299 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2009. "Democratic Capital: The Nexus of Political and Economic Change," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 88-126, July.
  7. Egorov, Georgy & Sonin, Konstantin, 2005. "The Killing Game: Reputation and Knowledge in Non-Democratic Succession," CEPR Discussion Papers 5092, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2005. "Dictators and Their Viziers: Agency Problems in Dictatorships," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp735, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  9. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 2002. "Economic Backwardness in Political Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 3261, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Wacziarg, Romain & Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Easterly, William & Kurlat, Sergio, 2002. "Fractionalization," Research Papers 1744, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  11. Elias Papaioannou & Gregorios Siourounis, 2007. "Democratization And Growth," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 07-13, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  12. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864, August.
  13. Azam, Jean-Paul & Bates, Robert & Biais, Bruno, 2009. "Political Predation and Economic Development," IDEI Working Papers 342, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  14. Timothy Besley, 2005. "Political Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 43-60, Summer.
  15. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2005. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 546-579, June.
  16. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2006. "Emergence and Persistence of Inefficient States," NBER Working Papers 12748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Jody Overland & Kenneth Simons & Michael Spagat, 2005. "Political instability and growth in dictatorships," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 125(3), pages 445-470, December.
  18. Robert J. Barro, 1988. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 2588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson & Thierry Verdier, 2003. "Kleptocracy and Divide-and-Rule: A Model of Personal Rule," NBER Working Papers 10136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. S. Guriev & G. Egorov & K. Sonin., 2007. "Media Freedom, Bureaucratic Incentives, and the Resource Curse," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
  21. Jennifer Gandhi & Adam Przeworski, 2006. "Cooperation, Cooptation, And Rebellion Under Dictatorships," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 1-26, 03.
  22. Daron Acemoglu, 2005. "Politics and Economics in Weak and Strong States," NBER Working Papers 11275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Martin C. McGuire & Mancur Olson Jr., 1996. "The Economics of Autocracy and Majority Rule: The Invisible Hand and the Use of Force," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 72-96, March.
  24. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521794497 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Casey B. Mulligan & Ricard Gil & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2004. "Do Democracies Have Different Public Policies than Nondemocracies?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 51-74, Winter.
  26. Gerard Padro i Miquel, 2006. "The Control of Politicians in Divided Societies: The Politics of Fear," NBER Working Papers 12573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Government," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1847, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  28. Grossman, Herschel I. & Noh, Suk Jae, 1994. "Proprietary public finance and economic welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 187-204, February.
  29. Dani Rodrik & Romain Wacziarg, 2005. "Do Democratic Transitions Produce Bad Economic Outcomes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 50-55, May.
  30. Timothy Besley & Masayuki Kudamatsu, 2006. "Health and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 313-318, May.
  31. Torsten Persson, 2005. "Forms of Democracy, Policy and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 11171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Adam Przeworski & Fernando Limongi, 1993. "Political Regimes and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 51-69, Summer.
  33. Avinash Dixit, 2006. "Predatory States and Failing States: An Agency Perspective," Working Papers 71, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  34. Dani Rodrik, 2000. "Participatory Politics, Social Cooperation, and Economic Stability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 140-144, May.
  35. Weingast, Barry R. & Wittman, Donald, 2008. "The Oxford Handbook of Political Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199548477, March.
  36. Masayuki Kudamatsu, 2007. "Has Democratization Reduced Infant Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa? Evidence from Micro Data," ISER Discussion Paper 0685, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  37. Daron Acemoglu, 2006. "Modeling Inefficient Institutions," NBER Working Papers 11940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6371. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask to update the entry or send us the correct address

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.