Citizenry Accountability in Autocracies: The Political Economy of Good Governance in China
Do citizens have a role in constraining the policies of autocratic governments? Usually political and economic literature models autocracy as if citizens have no role in constraining a leader's behavior, when in fact autocratic governments are afraid of potential citizen revolts. In this paper we build a three player political agency model to study citizenry accountability in autocracies. We show that the citizens can effectively discipline the leader due to the threat of revolution notwithstanding the size of the selectorate, though this may result in a failed state when the costs of revolution and the size of the selectorate are small. Our model and results provide a useful framework for interpreting the political logic of the China's economic reform after the "Tiananmen incident".
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