IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Making autocracy work

  • Timothy Besley
  • Masayuki Kudamatsu

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://eprints.lse.ac.uk/3764/
File Function: Open access version.
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 3764.

as
in new window

Length: 75 pages
Date of creation: May 2007
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:3764
Contact details of provider: Postal:
LSE Library Portugal Street London, WC2A 2HD, U.K.

Phone: +44 (020) 7405 7686
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

More information through EDIRC

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. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S103-26, October.
  2. Glaeser, Edward L. & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Scholarly Articles 27867242, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Georgy Egorov & Sergei Guriev & Konstantin Sonin, 2006. "Media Freedom, Bureaucratic Incentives, and the Resource Curse," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 06-10, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  4. Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2004. "Dictators and Their Viziers: Agency Problems in Dictatorships," Working Papers w0043, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  5. 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.
  6. Acemoglu, D. & Ticchi, D. & Vindigni, A., 2006. "Emergence and Persistence of Inefficient States," Papers 12-02-2006, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
  7. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Government," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1847, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. George Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2005. "The Killing Game: Reputation and Knowledge in Non-Democratic Succession," Economics Working Papers 0054, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  9. Papaioannou, Elias & Siourounis, Gregorios, 2008. "Democratization and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 6987, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. repec:pri:cepsud:131dixit is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Azam, Jean-Paul & Bates, Robert & Biais, Bruno, 2009. "Political Predation and Economic Development," IDEI Working Papers 342, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Jennifer Gandhi & Adam Przeworski, 2006. "Cooperation, Cooptation, And Rebellion Under Dictatorships," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 1-26, 03.
  15. Alberto Alesina & Arnaud Devleeschauwer & William Easterly & Sergio Kurlat & Romain Wacziarg, 2003. "Fractionalization," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/229724, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  16. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2007. "Hit or Miss? The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War," NBER Working Papers 13102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Deaton, A., 1999. "Commodity Prices and Growth in Aftica," Papers 186, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  18. 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.
  19. Weingast, Barry R. & Wittman, Donald, 2008. "The Oxford Handbook of Political Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199548477, December.
  20. Timothy Besley, 2005. "Political Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 43-60, Summer.
  21. Masayuki Kudamatsu, 2012. "Has Democratization Reduced Infant Mortality In Sub-Saharan Africa? Evidence From Micro Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(6), pages 1294-1317, December.
  22. Daron Acemoglu, 2005. "Politics and Economics in Weak and Strong States," NBER Working Papers 11275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Jody Overland & Kenneth L. Simons & Michael Spagat, 2000. "Political Instability and Growth in Dictatorships," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 354, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  24. Wintrobe,Ronald, 1998. "The Political Economy of Dictatorship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521583299, October.
  25. Persson, Torsten, 2005. "Forms of Democracy, Policy and Economic Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 4938, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  26. Bueno De Mesquita, Bruce & Morrow, James D. & Siverson, Randolph M. & Smith, Alastair, 2002. "Political Institutions, Policy Choice and the Survival of Leaders," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(04), pages 559-590, October.
  27. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Economic Backwardness in Political Perspective," NBER Working Papers 8831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Adam Przeworski & Fernando Limongi, 1993. "Political Regimes and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 51-69, Summer.
  29. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. Timothy Besley & Masayuki Kudamatsu, 2006. "Health and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 313-318, May.
  33. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin & Ricard Gil, 2003. "Do Democracies Have Different Public Policies than Nondemocracies?," NBER Working Papers 10040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. Daron Acemoglu, 2006. "Modeling Inefficient Institutions," NBER Working Papers 11940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  37. Dani Rodrik, 2000. "Participatory Politics, Social Cooperation, and Economic Stability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 140-144, May.
  38. Avinash Dixit, 2006. "Predatory States and Failing States: An Agency Perspective," Working Papers 71, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  39. Wintrobe,Ronald, 2000. "The Political Economy of Dictatorship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521794497, October.
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:ehl:lserod:3764. 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: (LSERO Manager)

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.