Performance Incentives Under Autocracy: Evidence from Russia's Regions
41 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2017
Date Written: January 23, 2017
Available evidence indicates that there is considerable variation among autocracies in the extent to which subnational officials are rewarded for economic growth. Why is economic performance used as a criterion for appointment in some autocracies but not in others? We argue that in more competitive - though still autocratic - regimes, the political imperatives of maintaining a political machine that can win semi-competitive elections leads regime leaders to abandon cadre policies that promote economic development. Using data on turnover among high-level economic bureaucrats in Russia's 89 regions between 2001 and 2012, we find that performance-based appointments are more frequent in less competitive regions. These findings demonstrate one way that semi-competitive elections can actually undermine economic development under autocracy.
Keywords: autocracy, development, bureaucrats, Russia, performance-based, appointments, subnational
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