The Logic of Authoritarian Bargains: A Test of a Structural Model

38 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2008

See all articles by Raj M. Desai

Raj M. Desai

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS); The Brookings Institution

Tarik Yousef

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS)

Anders Olofsgård

SITE-SSE; Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS)

Date Written: January 2007

Abstract

Dictatorships do not survive by repression alone. Rather, dictatorial rule is often explained as an authoritarian bargain by which citizens relinquish political rights for economic security. The applicability of the authoritarian bargain to decision-making in non-democratic states, however, has not been thoroughly examined. We conceptualize this bargain as a simple, repeated game between a representative citizen and an autocrat who faces the threat of insurrection, and where economic benefits and political rights are simultaneously determined according to the opportunity costs the regime faces in providing these goods. Our model yields precise implications for the empirical patterns that are expected to exist. Tests of a system of equations with panel data comprising over 45 non-democratic states between 1984 and 1999 confirm the generality of the authoritarian-bargain thesis. The bargain, however, tends to break down in military or in highly-repressive dictatorships.

Keywords: global economics, development, subjective well-being, global poverty, authoritarian bargain, economic security

Suggested Citation

Desai, Raj M. and Yousef, Tarik and Olofsgard, Anders, The Logic of Authoritarian Bargains: A Test of a Structural Model (January 2007). Brookings Global Economy and Development Working Paper No. 3, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1080061 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1080061

Raj M. Desai (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

The Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Tarik Yousef

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States
202-687-0347 (Phone)
202-687-7001 (Fax)

Anders Olofsgard

SITE-SSE ( email )

Stockholm
Sweden

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
94
Abstract Views
718
rank
327,074
PlumX Metrics