IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

A kleptocrat's survival guide : autocratic longevity in the face of civil conflict

  • Milante, Gary

Autocratic regimes are quite often short-lived kleptocracies formed and maintained through force and used to appropriate wealth from subjects. Some of these autocracies collapse after only a year or two of plundering while others manage to survive for 15 or 20 years. This paper asks why some autocratic regimes survive while others fail. A database of political regimes from 1960 to 2003 is introduced and accompanies the paper in an appendix. A model of political survival suggests that autocrats exchange constraints on their executive power for their continued survival. The relationship between payouts from successful rebellion and ease of rebellion determines how willing kleptocrats are to extend the political franchise and protect their power. Results show that extremely oppressive regimes and great expenditures on security are likely to accompany the most difficult environments for defense of the state. The model is used to identify the costs of pervasive political conflict and to decompose the"civil peace dividend"enjoyed by inclusive democracies that do not suffer from the malady of kleptocratic rule. Finally, the model suggests that slow democratization pushed by the autocratic elites to guarantee their survival, accompanied by stable development, may be the best path toward a democratic future for many fragile states.

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:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4186.

in new window

Date of creation: 01 Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4186
Contact details of provider: Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page:

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. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
  2. Kai Konrad & Stergios Skaperdas, 2012. "The market for protection and the origin of the state," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 417-443, June.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson, 1999. "A Theory of Political Transitions," Working papers 99-26, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Addison, Tony & Murshed, S. Mansoob, 2001. "Credibility and Reputation in Peacemaking," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  6. Stergios Skaperdas, 1996. "Contest success functions (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 283-290.
  7. Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2002. "Plunder & Protection Inc," Development and Comp Systems 0210002, EconWPA.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2005. "From Education to Democracy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 44-49, May.
  9. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A & Verdier, Thierry, 2003. "Kleptocracy and Divide-and-Rule: A Model of Personal Rule," CEPR Discussion Papers 4059, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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:wbk:wbrwps:4186. 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: (Roula I. Yazigi)

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.