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Repression, Political Threats, and Survival Under Autocracy

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Abstract

Dictatorships are generally characterized by their use of repression, which is higher than that of democratic systems. Repression is, jointly with the mobilizing of some political support, one of the two basic instruments dictators use in order to stay in power. There is broad empirical evidence proving that loyalty and cooptation help dictators survive in office. Yet, there is not systematic investigation analyzing the role of repression. Does repression help dictators retain power? This paper is aimed at filling this important gap. In particular, I address the simultaneous relationship existing between survival and repression by implementing a two-stage estimation method. I use data on authoritarian rulers’ survival and modes of exit. Data on repression are from the Political Terror Scale, the Cingranelli and Richards’ Physical Integrity Rights Index, and Freedom House’s civil liberties score. The results show that an increased probability of exit causes important and significant increases in repression levels; and that repression helps increasing the likelihood of dictators’ survival. Further, I also analyze if repression affect differently survival once the modes in which rulers’ can be replaced are disaggregated, and vice versa. Curiously, political terror is found to be only significantly helpful in preventing non-violent and regular exits, but not violent or irregular ones. Instead, restrictions on civil liberties are effective in deterring both types of threats. Similarly, it is only non-violent threats which trigger significant increases in political terror, while the risk of a violent or irregular exit leads the regime to increase restrictions on civil liberties.

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... Arab countries on the African continent are at risk from some security disturbances caused by extremist terrorist groups, as well as internal conflicts, such as in Libya, Somalia and Sudan, and some of them face significant economic difficulties. The Arab Mashreq, which includes Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Iraq, face political and security earthquakes that are not normal, and may lead to fundamental changes in the map and may lead to wide imbalances in regional power balances [25,22,26]. ...
... This led to the existence of a space and the interference of Western powers in the Arab world in the name of democracy and human rights to eliminate al-Qaeda and increase its influence, as well as terrorism. Regardless of invoking the defense of democracy and human rights, as is the case for the United States of America [2,25]. ...
... However, we find that the Middle East region, despite the geographical proximity between all Arab countries, and similar cultures, but have a single historical background, and one language is prevalent, especially within the Arab region, which is the largest proportion of both the proportion of population or geographical area compared to the countries of the region as a whole . The regional system in the Middle East is ineffective at the level of interactive cultural relations, economic exchanges and, most importantly, security cooperation [18,25]. ...
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Security is a cornerstone of development and progress in a free society. A basic and widespread understanding of the importance of security as a guarantee of citizens' well-being and the stability of the State itself is therefore essential. Moreover, the Middle East is home to many diverse peoples, with ancient and proud cultures, in varying stages of political and socioeconomic development, often times in conflict. Now in a state of historic flux, the Arab Spring has transformed the Middle Eastern landscape, with great consequence for the Arab national security strategies of the neighboring countries and their foreign relations. The Arab National security environment in the Arab World has become increasingly complicated after the independence. This paper identifies several important trends that are shaping the Arab national security and identifies their implications with the rest of the world However; ongoing domestic changes throughout the region will become increasingly important as well. Issues such as political reform, Arab spring revolution, economic reform, civil-military relations, leadership change, and the information revolution are all affecting the regional security dynamics. This research paper examines each of these issue areas and identifies some of the challenges that they pose for the Arab world international relations. The paper covered, Dimensions, perceptions, risks and future strategy security; challenges of natural geography; political contestation following the Arab Spring and state responses; the military tool; armed non-state actors; US Middle East policy; regional security architecture; and the historical role of the army in Middle East state-building. The National security is a concept that a government, along with its parliaments, should protect the state and its citizens against all kind of "national" crises through a variety of power projections, such as political power, diplomacy, economic power, military might, and so on.
... Building analysis upon a sample of both democratic and authoritarian leaders, Bueno de Mesquita and Smith (2010) found no significant effect of repression on leader survival rates. Escribà-Folch (2013) included only authoritarian leaders in her dataset and uncovered that physical repression (measured by the Political Terror Scale) decrease only the likelihood of nonviolent ruler exit, while restrictions on civil liberties (measured by the corresponding Freedom House's scale) produce negative effects on both violent and nonviolent types of ruler exit from power. 6 6 The reliability of the dependent variable, which is the Political Terror Scale (PTS) or its composite sources -Amnesty International (PTS_A), Human Rights Watch (PTS_H), and the US Department of State (PTS_S), is questionable in these and similar studies. ...
... restrictions on civil liberties (Davenport 2007;Escribà-Folch 2013). This study has examined only clientelism as a formal practice of the distribution of benefits to political elites. ...
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Why do incumbents in electoral authoritarian regimes retain power? This study seeks to answer this fundamental question by linking electoral fraud and sincere voting for the incumbent with incumbent’s distributive politics and, accordingly, by looking at the puzzle of authoritarian survival from two perspectives. An elite-oriented incumbent’s strategy suggests that, unlike democracies, where distributive politics is primarily targeted at voters, authoritarian incumbents inevitably have to deliver benefits to political elites in order to secure their loyalty, which is eventually converted into electoral fraud, repression of the opposition forces, persecution of the media, refraining from challenging the incumbent, and other authoritarian policy outcomes. A mass-oriented incumbent’s strategy implies that, if electoral competition is not meaningless, authoritarian incumbents also have to deliver benefits to the general public in order to secure genuine mass support, which eventually results in sincere voting for the incumbent. This argument is tested on cross-regional data from Russia as a prominent case of persistent electoral authoritarianism. The analysis begins with a poorly studied but an immanent element of any kind of authoritarianism – electoral fraud perpetrated by political elites and their local agents. Having developed a novel measure of electoral fraud forensics based on quintile regression, I demonstrate that electoral fraud in the Russian 2000–2012 presidential elections played a typical role for electoral authoritarianism: it was neither outcome-changing as it occurs in closed authoritarian regimes nor intrinsically sporadic as in electoral democracies, but it was widespread and hardly avoidable by the incumbent. The study then dwells on examination of the federal transfers to regional budgets as a type of public and formally legal yet politically motivated distribution. Not only were the central transfers allocated to the regions according to the principle of electoral allegiance to the federal incumbent presidents, but it also appears that, as authoritarian regime was consolidating over time, the larger amount of transfer funds was allocated to the bureaucracy (as part of the regime’s elite clientele) in order to secure its loyalty. The loyalty of regional elites, in its turn, was eventually converted into distinct authoritarian policy outcomes, including electoral fraud and persecution of the media. This resulted in a general bias of the electoral playing field and, thereby, contributed to sustaining the authoritarian equilibrium. By contrast, the analysis finds no evidence that the politicized transfers influenced sincere voting for the incumbent. These mixed findings indicate that popular support under electoral authoritarianism is still puzzling and calls for further examination, whereas securing loyalty of political elites via delivering them clientelist benefits is crucial for regime survival in personalist electoral dictatorships.
... We control of additional determinants of leaders' tenure in office suggested in the literature (e.g., Bueno de Mesquita et al. 2003;Goemans, 2008;McGillivray & Smith, 2008;Bueno de Mesquita & Smith, 2009;Escribà-Folch & Abel, 2013;Licht, 2010;Wright et al., 2015). In a first instance, we include percent change in government's expenditure per capita (Δ(Expenditure pc)) as an additional measure of public goods provision. ...
... Empirical findings of our control variables are consistent with previous work on political survival (e.g., Bueno de Mesquita et al. 2003;Escribà-Folch & Abel, 2013;Licht, 2010). For instance, the coefficients for the cubic polynomial indicate that there is no duration dependence, which is consistent with the argument that leaders face a constant hazard rate over time due to a weak loyalty norm in large coalition systems. ...
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The provision of public goods plays a key role in the survival of leaders in democracies. Assuming that mass rail transport shares many of the characteristics of public goods, we claim that the public provision of railway ser-vices is more beneficial for political leaders in democracies than private provision. To estimate the effect of the type of provision of railway services on leader survival, we use new data on four European democracies that present variation in the public and private ownership of rail miles between 1913 and 1981. We find that the private provision of rail transport increases the hazard rates of leader deposition in these democracies. These results bear crucial implications, as they help to explain the sweeping policies of nationalization of public ser-vices that took place in the first half of the 20th Century in Western Europe.
... Although they find no evidence that any of these channels explain the gender differentials, they do find that higher church attendance among women may account for their greater resistance to communist socialization, which reinforces earlier findings about the role of churches as a key institutional source of anti-authoritarian resistance (see, for example, Wittenberg, 2006). Given this argument, and preliminary findings that meso-level socialization agents could potentially undermine regime's efforts to create mass support and compliance, it is not surprising that autocracies often use different forms of repression to minimize the impact of other actors beyond the regime's main actors and organizations (Escribà-Folch, 2013). But, as already mentioned above, repression can also backfire, creating more resistance among citizens (Dinas & Northmore-Ball, 2019;Rozenas & Zhukov, 2019). ...
... Hard repression has been shown to be counterproductive and lead to a rejection of the regime and its principles (Rozenas & Zhukov, 2019). However, subtler forms of repression, which mainly target restrictions of civil liberties (e.g., freedom of assembly, religion, or movement), have been shown to be more effective in preserving the legitimacy and stability of regimes (Escribà-Folch, 2013). ...
Article
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This introductory essay outlines the key themes of the special issue on the long-term impact of autocracies on the political attitudes and behavior of their subjects. Here, we highlight several important areas of theoretical and empirical refinements, which can provide a more nuanced picture of the process through which authoritarian attitudinal legacies emerge and persist. First, we define the nature of attitudinal legacies and their driving mechanisms, developing a framework of competing socialization. Second, we use the competing socialization framework to explain two potential sources of heterogeneity in attitudinal and behavioral legacies: varieties of institutional features of authoritarian regimes, which affect the nature of regime socialization efforts; and variations across different subgroups of (post-)authoritarian citizens, which reflect the nature and strength of alternative socialization efforts. This new framework can help us to better understand contradictory findings in this emerging literature as well as set a new agenda for future research.
... Specifically, we assume that a fraction ξ of private production is destroyed. 15 Therefore, under the chaotic regime, people produce y = T k but get (1 − τ )(1 − ξ)y. Their utility function is equal to ...
... To focus on our focal mechanism, we hold the values for all other economic factors fixed. Taxes (τ ) are therefore set the same in autocracy and democracy, as is the initial amount of public resources available (T ).15 While we focus on large variation in ξ that may give rise to trauma, to some extent, it could also be interpreted as the degree of incompetency of the democratically elected ruler in the pluralistic but chaotic regime (D). ...
... In another circumstance, movements fail when they are perceived as agents of political instability or as threatening or attempting to overthrow the regime (Wright & Escriba-Folch, 2012). The regime represses the aggrieved groups to ensure political stability and remain in power (Escriba-Folch, 2013;Josua & Edel, 2015;Regan & Henderson, 2002). ...
... Further to making such a statement, I propose that a neo-patrimonial regime survives because of its ability to award and protect the winning coalition's (patron-client's) ability to extract rents from natural resources to ensure loyalty and political support, and so to co-opt and circumvent challengers (cf. Escriba-Folch, 2013). In this circumstance, the inward foreign direct investments are seen as expropriation tools for regimes such as autocracy, when the rulers need to cling onto power for longer (Li, 2009). ...
Thesis
In the social movement literature, scholars have proposed that the success or failure of social movements is shaped by several factors, including: social movement strategies and organisational arrangements; cost-benefit calculations informing government responses to social movement demands; the openness of political opportunity structures; and capacity of social movements to mobilise resources and access transnational networks to support their demands. Influenced predominantly by the experiences of social movements in the global North, the propositions of these scholars fail to adequately account for the performance of social movements operating within certain political regime types prevalent in the global South. As a contribution to bridging this gap, this thesis explains why some movements of civil society organisations (CSOs) in Cambodia fail while others succeed, within a context of struggle for political survival by the neo-patrimonial patron of the regime. The thesis focuses on CSO movements engaged in contesting economic land concessions granted to foreign companies in Cambodia and, in so doing, substantiates new empirical and theoretical links between social movements and the political survival of varying regime types. The study employed a qualitative process-tracing method to examine two cases of CSO movements targeting subordinate government institutions (e.g. provincial offices and ministries) and foreign companies investing in agro-industrial land. The CSOs in the two cases demanded remedy for similar adverse social, economic and environmental impacts caused by large-scale land acquisition for agro-industries. However, they achieved substantially different degrees of success and failure. The thesis argues that a primary factor explaining this variation is the choice of ‘balancing strategies’ employed by the regime’s patron to secure its own political survival by manoeuvring between concessive and repressive responses. To survive politically, the patron tends, on the one hand, to employ repressive measures to deal with opposition, including CSOs that challenge the members of the winning coalitions (influential supporters of the regime’s patron); on the other, it deploys concessive measures to co-opt and circumvent opposition. These strategies illuminate the patron’s calculation of risks and rewards, embodied as the maintenance of political support from the winning coalitions’ members and the placating of aggrieved communities through the relative use of concessive or repressive responses. The way in which the patron calculates risks and rewards is contingent upon their perception of whether or not the movements put the regime and its winning coalitions at risk. The main reference point in making such calculations of risk is the regime’s survival. These strategies to cope with different CSO movements are adopted not only by the central patron, but also by its subordinate institutions. In one case involving a land concession held by a senator who is also known as a sugar baron, although the CSO movements employed strong strategies, such as: an escalation from domestic to international strategies; the creation of a formal organisational arrangement; external networking; and the adoption of a stance aligned with some political elites, they failed to achieve most of their demands. They were relatively unsuccessful because the subordinate institutions, especially the provincial office, chose to repress the CSO movements due to influence from the sugar baron, a member of the winning coalitions. In contrast, CSO movements targeting a European company employed relatively weak strategies (i.e. weak networking, an informal organisational set-up and the seeking of support from institutions within the government), but they achieved most of their demands. They were relatively successful because the subordinate institutions conceded to regulate the European company to address most of the CSOs’ demands. Due to the European company’s lack of connection to the patron of the regime, the subordinate institutions held strong autonomy and thus could concede to the CSOs. The interactions explained in these case studies suggest that the relative success or failure of CSO movements is not contingent primarily upon their strategies, but rather upon the concessive or repressive measures of the central patron. These measures, adopted as they are for the political survival of the regime’s patron, shape the responses of the subordinate institutions. In essence, CSO movements are more likely to fail when they pose a high risk to the survival of the regime’s patron. The thesis concludes that, while the strategies orchestrated by the CSO movements are important in explaining the dynamics of their movements and outcomes, these strategies are not primary factors in determining the degrees of success or failure. Thus, scholars in this field should take into account the survival strategies adopted by political leaders in the particular regime type within which a social movement operates.
... The immediate resort to repression in this case has eminent consequences. On one hand, engaging in state violence could lead to an escalation of more violent acts against the state that can be perceived as a sign of regime incompetence and provoke military coups to bring stability back (Escribà-Folch, 2013;Wintrobe, 1998). On the other hand, once mass violence erupts, it means that participators have already solved to manage their collective action problems (Escribà-Folch, 2013). ...
... On one hand, engaging in state violence could lead to an escalation of more violent acts against the state that can be perceived as a sign of regime incompetence and provoke military coups to bring stability back (Escribà-Folch, 2013;Wintrobe, 1998). On the other hand, once mass violence erupts, it means that participators have already solved to manage their collective action problems (Escribà-Folch, 2013). Alternatively, the dictator can respond in a divide and conquer fashion by increasing public spending to placate public support for anti-state groups and trying to stimulate the acquiescence of their leaders with material spoils (Annett, 2001;Mesquita & Smith, 2010). ...
This paper examines the behavior of dictators when faced by an imminent threat of being overthrown in oil abundant countries. In the short run, the dictator’s survival strategies is argued to be confined to public spending and repression, whereas the choice of their levels is conditional upon the intensity of the mass threat (i.e. civil protest vs. mass violence) and the size of oil wealth. The empirical results indicate a possibility of mixing between spending and repression, and that oil wealth allows for differences in their employed levels in face of the same threat. Using a dataset of authoritarian regimes in 88 countries from 1981 to 2006, I found that mass violence is handled through increasing both spending and repression, whereas civil protest is only met by repression. Furthermore, greater oil wealth is found to provide a wider fiscal space to relatively increase spending, but only at low and intermediate levels of mass threats. As the threats intensify, the effect of oil wealth dissipates and oil wealth dictatorships behave the same as their non-oil wealth counterparts.
... How does this subnational variation in how autocracies function and legitimize themselves contribute to their overall survival and what is the role of economic development in this process? Finally, future research could further consider how modernization might influence possible survival strategies including the strategies of co-optation and repression in different types of autocracy (see Escribà-Folch, 2013). ...
Article
Modernization theory is one of the most influential theories in political science. However, to date, studies testing the impact of modernization on political regimes have almost completely focused on democracies. We aim at broadening the discussion to autocracies and ask the following research question: What impact has economic development on the survival of different types of autocracy? Using data covering 1946 to 2016, we ascertain – mainly through logistic regression analysis – that the level of economic development affects not only the endurance of democracies but also that of various types of autocracy. In more detail, we find that economic development prolongs the survival of ideocracies and personalist autocracies. The effect of economic modernization on military dictatorships, monarchies and electoral autocracies is very limited. In contrast, one party autocracies are the only regime type whose survival chances (moderately) decrease with modernization.
... This is not an angle that has been much studied in the vast literature on co-optation examined above, or on other related literatures such as studies on co-optation and repression. 42 By extracting a costly public commitment, the leader ensures that members of the coalition are tied to his rule, which binds them in future dealings with him or with any potential successor. The more associated a member becomes with a given ruler, the more difficult it will be to remain in power or avoid becoming a target for a potential new dictator. ...
Article
Formal institutions in dictatorship are known to improve authoritarian governance and promote power-sharing. Yet institutions also act as tools of information propagation and can be used by autocrats for signaling purposes. In this article, I argue that in times of weakness, dictators follow an expand-and-signal strategy, expanding the ruling coalition to decrease the relative power of coup plotters and then create visible formal institutions to signal strong support. Doing so decreases (1) the probability that a coup is launched and (2) that one succeeds if staged. I propose a formal model to unpack the mechanisms of my argument and use the case of the Dominican Republic during Rafael Trujillo's rule to illustrate my theory.
... On the contrary, vulnerability increases as they are no longer in any position to protect themselves, or their friends. In short, there is good reason to suspect that authoritarian leaders are deterred from stepping down by a lack of security for their lives and livelihood, and that of their friends and families (Albertus and Menaldo 2012;Debs 2016;Escriba-Folch 2013). (29) In the presence of an informal retirement age and fixed terms, such fears are clear and proximate from day one of an incumbent's tenure. ...
Article
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President Xi Jinping is arguably the most powerful Chinese leader since Chairman Mao. Recent constitutional revisions and a midterm leadership reshuffle has only substantiated the fear that Xi, like Mao, has no intention of handing over power to a future successor. Does Xi’s rise signal an end to collective leadership and does a stronger president translate into a weaker party? In this article, I review the methods by which Xi has come to consolidate power as well as the implications for Chinese elite politics in the future. Drawing insights from the comparative literature, I question the zero-sum relationship between executive and institutional strength. Although Xi has certainly amassed unprecedented personal power, it has not necessarily come at the expense of the Party. Instead, the dangers of Xi Jinping’s power grab are more likely to result from a chilling effect on dissenting opinions and thinning out of the leadership pipeline, each of which is likely to undermine governing capacity over the medium to long-term.
... In line with this basic conception of authoritarian politics, numerous studies have analyzed how autocrats try to minimize the risk of being toppled by making strategic use of political institutions to monitor and co-opt political elites (Gandhi & Przeworski, 2007;Magaloni, 2008;Wright and Escribà-Folch, 2012) and devise strategies to repress popular dissent (Davenport, 2007;Escribà-Folch, 2013;Lust-Okar, 2004). Recently, studies that highlight the relevance of claims to legitimacy for the persistence of autocratic rule have gained momentum (Dukalskis & Gerschewski, 2017). ...
Article
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Protest against authoritarian rule is a well-studied phenomenon in the social sciences, but mass rallies in favor of authoritarian regimes have received only limited scholarly attention. While previous work has portrayed authoritarian regimes as characterized by mass apathy and political demobilization, we show that this is only partially true today. We argue that autocrats mobilize their supporters selectively as a strategic response to political threats. Rallies increase collective action costs for rivaling elites, opposition movements, and bystanders because they signal regime strength (deterrence) and curb mobilization efforts against the regime (repression). Nevertheless, the mobilization of supporters is costly, as autocrats have only imperfect information about current levels of support, rallies require organizational capacity and clashes between supporters and opponents can get out of control. Drawing on the first global data set with information about pro-government rally events in all authoritarian regimes from 2003 to 2015, our quantitative analysis reveals systematic patterns in the occurrence of rallies in line with our theoretical framework. We find systematic increases in pro-government mobilization during episodes of large domestic and regional opposition mobilization, high coup risk, and prior to elections.
... that coercion is more widely used in autocracies than in democracies (Davenport, 1999;Davenport and Armstrong, 2004), and especially so in dictatorships where power is personalized (Frantz et al., 2020). Similarly, research has shown that leaders are more likely to resort to violence when their prospects of staying in office are low (Young, 2012;Hencken Ritter, 2014), which can indeed be effective as a strategy to help autocrats secure power (Escribà-Folch, 2013). In addition to domestic determinants of repression, previous work has emphasized the importance of international factors such as economic sanctions (Wood, 2008) or preferential trade agreements (Hafner-Burton, 2005). ...
... Authoritarian regimes rely on repression to maintain control and counter threats to their rule (Escriba-Folch, 2013). They repress in a variety of ways, ranging from torture to censorship, each of which has a specific purpose (Wintrobe, 1998;Ritter, 2014). ...
... A particularly brutal and memorable record of repression that violates basic human rights, which are seen as integral to democracy, is likely to fuel the regime's bad reputation. Hard repression (Levitsky & Way, 2010) is more likely to undermine legitimacy than subtler forms (Escribà-Folch, 2013), increase opposition (Davenport, 2007), and the demand for transitional justice after democratization (O'Donnell & Schmitter, 2013). Thus, repression is likely to increase the proportion of people who lack sincere support for the old regime and fuel the antidictator political discourse. ...
Article
How do the labels left and right take on meaning in new democracies? Existing explanations point to the universality of the left–right scheme or, reversely, emphasize regionally dominant social cleavages. We propose an alternative legacy-focused theory based on two observations: Dictatorships are not ideologically neutral and are negatively evaluated by most citizens and elites after democratization. These premises lead us to expect that when the authoritarian regime is associated with the left (right), the citizens of a new democracy will display an antileft (antiright) bias in their left–right self-identification. We test this hypothesis across Latin American and European new democracies. We find significant bias, which in the case of new democracies following left-wing regimes is concealed due to intercohort heterogeneity. Although older cohorts denote a positive bias, cohorts born after Stalin’s era denote negative bias against the left. Consistent with our expectations, repression exacerbates this bias whereas indoctrination mitigates it. Finally, we look at how these biases apply to party preferences. The findings have important implications for understanding authoritarian legacies and party system development in new democracies.
... Yet, after coup-attempts, the same repressive apparatus is often left in place. Coercive force -the threat or deployment of violence -remains a viable tool to maintain power and repress those excluded from power, reducing respect for physical integrity rights (Derpanopoulos et al. 2016, Escriba-Folch 2013. We focus on physical integrity rights violations associated with violations of human rights like extrajudicial killings, disappearances, torture and political imprisonment. ...
Article
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Do coups affect patterns of political violence like violations of physical integrity rights? Do these patterns vary depending on whether coups succeed or fail? We argue that political uncertainty from coups decreases respect for physical integrity rights. Post-coup regimes preemptively repress as a show of strength to deter threats from those excluded from power and settle scores through cycles of retaliation. Additionally, we argue that the retaliation cycle of score settling will last longer after a failed coup because of informational problems that emerge when targeting opponents. Employing data on coups and physical integrity rights from 1980 to 2015, we find coup failure and success to be negatively associated with respect for physical integrity rights, and the cycle of retaliation lasts longer after failed coups.
... One conceptual problem is that we have no good theories about how the interaction between repression and dissent affects the probability of political survival (Escribá-Folch, 2013;Ritter, 2014). In fact, in her extensive review of the literature on repression, Earl (2011) does not even mention the possibility that increasing the probability of regime survival might be an intended effect. ...
Article
Authoritarian rulers tend to prevent political action, but sometimes allow it even if it leads to social conflict. The collapse of preventive repression is especially puzzling when rulers have reliable security forces capable of preventing protests. We develop a game-theoretic model that explores the incentives of authoritarians to repress or permit political contestation. We show that rulers with the capacity to fully repress political action create despotic regimes, but rulers with more moderate capacity might opt to allow open contestation. The status quo bias that favors regime supporters weakens their incentive to defend it. Rulers take the authoritarian wager by abandoning preventive repression and allowing opposition that threatens the status quo. The resulting risk gives incentives to the supporters to defend the regime, increasing the rulers’ chances of political survival. Even moderate changes in the structural capacity to repress might result in drastic policy reversals involving repression.
... Hence, there is a growing attention to mapping different types of authoritarian rule and investigating the causal mechanisms of their effects on economic performance (Boix and Svolik 2013;Holkeboer and Vreeland 2013). Repressions are crucial in explaining these differences; 4 while some autocracies engage in massive wide-scale repressions, others use more targeted repressions of limited scope (Davenport 2007;Gerschewski 2013;Escriba-Folch 2013). But how 2 Again, unlike voting, where the chances of being pivotal are very small. ...
Article
The paper examines the role of testosterone‐driven aggressive behavior in the politics of non‐democratic regimes and, in particular, its influence on the extent of repressiveness of these regimes. To measure testosterone exposure, we apply the facial width‐to‐height metric (fWHR) – a standard proxy widely used in the psychological literature – and look at a sample of Russian regional governors. We find a positive relationship between the fWHR of the governor and the level of repression in his region. Testosterone‐related behavior is, however, more widespread among younger governors and among governors with shorter tenure in office. Thus, the paper contributes to the recent trend of integrating insights of behavioral economics in political economics research.
... Specifically, our paper looks at the optimal strategy an autocrat can use to increase the probability of remaining in power (Wintrobe, 1990(Wintrobe, , 2007. While previous research has focused on economic redistribution (Acemoglu and Robinson, 2006), repression (Levitsky and Way, 2010;Escriba-Folch, 2013), performance (Zhao, 2009) or competence of the autocrat (Guriev andTreisman, 2015, 2019), we focus on the use of propaganda to strategically influence how the population thinks about potential alternatives to the political status quo. 7 Fig. 1. ...
Article
Can experience with democracy affect political support for a dictator? We develop a political economy model with endogenous reference points, where a dictator strategically reactivates traumatic collective memories about a past experience with democracy, to convince the population that a democratic alternative is inferior to the autocratic status quo. We find that a more traumatic experience with democracy in the past renders propaganda more efficient and increases the level of authoritarian political support per unit of memory recollection. We support these findings with panel data evidence from 103 countries.
... Further, several studies focus on authoritarian institutions of co-optation (Gandhi and Przeworski 2006;Magaloni 2008;Wright 2008;Boix and Svolik 2013), repression (Davenport 2007a;Møller and Skaaning 2013), and the relationship between co-optation and repression (Conrad 2011;Frantz and Kendall-Taylor 2014). Legitimacy, co-optation, and repression are now Co-optation and Repression of Religion in Authoritarian Regimes 7 argued to be the key mechanisms behind authoritarian stability (Gerschewski 2013;Kailitz and Wurster 2017), and their impact on the longevity of the authoritarian rule is widely studied (e.g., Gandhi and Przeworski 2007;Escribà-Folch 2013;Kailitz and Stockemer 2016). By drawing from this comparative research on authoritarianism, we can better understand the cross-country patterns in regulation of religion. ...
Article
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Comparative research on authoritarianism has largely neglected religion. Yet, in order to understand the logic of authoritarian control over the civil society, it is necessary to study how the authoritarian regimes deal with religious groups. In this paper, lessons from the two rapidly expanding fields on regulation of religion and comparative authoritarianism are combined. In particular, a conceptualization of regulation of religion in the authoritarian context is proposed, according to which positive endorsement of religion can be understood as co-optation, whereas negative restrictions can be seen as repression. By employing data on positive endorsement and negative restrictions on religion from 2014 for ca. 70 countries, three different clusters of authoritarian countries regarding the regulation of religion are identified. Finally, it is argued that capacity and ambition of both the religious groups and the authoritarian regimes are the main determinants of regulation.
... non-violent restriction of rights and creation of fear) and hard (violent) means to coerce the population and oppositional actors into rule-conforming behaviour and discourage them from challenging the incumbent elites. 38 Since violent forms of coercion tend to decrease legitimacy and unite the opposition, incumbents also have to create loyalty amongst oppositional actors and fellow elites through co-optation. This strategy essentially involves tying key political and societal groups to the incumbent by offering incentives in the form of power, material benefits, or reputational gains within formal institutions or through patrimonial networks. ...
Article
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The international dimension of authoritarian resilience is receiving increased attention by scholars of comparative politics and international relations alike. Research suggests that autocratic states exploit regionalism to boost domestic regime security. This article explains how membership in regional organizations can help to strengthen survival chances of autocratic incumbent elites. It argues that membership provides additional material, informational, and ideational resources to autocratic incumbents that can be used to boost domestic survival strategies vis-à-vis internal and external challengers. The article provides qualitative case-based evidence to show how autocratic incumbents in Zimbabwe, China, and Bahrain have benefited from the involvement of regional organizations during moments of political instability to strengthen legitimation, repression, co-optation, and international appeasement strategies. The article thereby provides the first encompassing explanation linking regionalism and authoritarian survival politics that is applicable across regions and different types of authoritarian regimes.
... In line with this basic conception of authoritarian politics, numerous studies have analyzed how autocrats try to minimize the risk of being toppled by making strategic use of political institutions to monitor and co-opt political elites (Gandhi and Przeworski, 2007;Magaloni, 2008;Wright and Escribà-Folch, 2012), and devise strategies to repress popular dissent (Lust-Okar, 2004;Davenport, 2007;Escribà-Folch, 2013). Recently, studies that highlight the relevance of claims to legitimacy for the persistence of autocratic rule have gained momentum (Dukalskis and Gerschewski, 2017 First of all, we know that some people have good reasons to support autocratic leaders. ...
... For many years, theoretical approaches to the subject concentrated on domestic-level politics to account for the resilience of authoritarian rule. Research addressed the strategies that incumbent elites use to maintain their rule, including the use of coercive repression, elite co-optation and legitimacy-seeking behaviour (Escribà-Folch 2013;Frantz & Kendall-Taylor 2014;Gerschewski 2013;Wintrobe 2007). Scholars focused especially on the ways in which autocrats used political institutions such as parties and legislatures to manage rivals and maintain ruling coalitions (Brownlee 2007;Gandhi 2008;Lust-Okar 2006). ...
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In this article, the effects of regional autocratic linkage on the survival of autocratic regimes are analysed. Scholars have suggested that regional factors shape regime survival through processes of diffusion. However, in most accounts, diffusion is simply derived from characteristics of the region, such as the number or proportion of regional autocracies. In contrast, it is argued here that it is the actual linkages between countries that must be examined. Regional political, economic and social ties between autocratic regimes create domestic and external stakes in the regime, counterweigh democratisation pressure and facilitate autocratic learning. The study employs the average volume of trade, migration and diplomatic exchanges between autocratic regimes within a region as proxies for regional autocratic linkage, and asserts that regional autocratic linkage is on the rise. Applying Cox survival models on a dataset of regional autocratic linkage and regime survival between 1946 and 2009, it is found that regional autocratic linkage significantly reduces the likelihood of autocratic regime breakdown. These effects hold when the proportion of autocratic regimes within a region is controlled for, suggesting that one must look beyond the characteristics of the countries within a region and focus on the ties and linkages between them.
... violations of personal integrity rights) and (2) non-violent or legal (i.e. restriction of individuals' civil and political liberties; Davenport et al., 2004;Escribà-Folch, 2013;Josua and Edel, 2015;Levitsky and Way, 2010;Schedler, 2002b). It also differentiates between levels of repression: low, medium and high. ...
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Opposition coordination varies widely in electoral autocracies. Sometimes, opposition parties are highly coordinated and create alliances, present joint candidates or common policy platforms. Yet, at other times, oppositions choose to challenge incumbents individually. This article seeks to explain what drives opposition parties to coordinate in non-democratic regimes. It finds that opponents’ decision-making and strategy formation is influenced by the amount of repression they face from the incumbent regime. It argues that repression has a curvilinear relationship with opposition coordination. When repression is low and high, opposition coordination will be informal or clandestine. However, when repression is at intermediate levels, opposition parties will formally coordinate to dislodge authoritarian incumbents. This article illustrates this argument through an analysis of the Venezuelan opposition under Chavismo (1999–2018), combining 129 interviews with party elites, journalists, academics, and regime defectors, along with archival research at key historical moments.
... Existing studies have designed formal mechanisms that explain the interdependence between protests and state repression. Escriba-Folch [19] finds that when facing survival dilemmas rulers are likely to extend their tenure by constraining individual liberties to limit coordination and deter collective action by implementing more violent repression against powerful individuals and groups capable of ousting the ruler by leading harmful uprisings. When the job security is not a concern, the leader is unlikely to repress, however, when the leader resorts to repression, the tactics are more severe than those of a more vulnerable leader [39]. ...
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Why do some protests face police repression while others are tolerated? This article formulates signaling game models to analyze the dynamic interaction between police and protesters in autocratic and democratic regimes. The theoretical framework of formal models suggests that low profile protester actions like peaceful marches with shouts avoid repressive police responses as opposed to high profile actions like close proximity contacts with the police. The equilibrium outcomes of our games are analyzed with empirical specifications that draw on two rich datasets. The empirical results of multinomial linear regression (MLR) models support the claim that police are likelier to repress protests which use aggressive actions. These results are one explanation for the Law of Coercive Responsiveness [14]. The robustness analysis of longitudinal data on protest events in the USA from 1960 to 1995 provides additional insights into the mechanism that protests relying on aggressive actions are more likely to face police violence.
... For another, when dictators use subtler forms of repression such as further restricting citizens' (already not so many) civil liberties to preserve regime stability without losing too much legitimacy (Escribá-Folch, 2013), the implementation of such a softer approach must be more embedded in the existing institutional framework than one with more violence involved. The effectiveness and legitimacy of such a strategy, however, critically hinges on the credibility of the existing authoritarian institutions among the public. ...
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How does repression on opposition protests affect citizens' institutional trust under dictatorships? There has been a burgeoning literature investigating empirically both long- and short-term impacts of protests and their repression on citizens' political preferences in both democratic and nondemocratic contexts. Yet, the literature tells us relatively little about how the above question could be answered. This paper tries to answer this question by taking advantage of a recent natural experiment in Hong Kong when Beijing suddenly adopted the National Security Law (NSL) in June 2020 to repress dissidents' protest mobilization. Our findings are twofold. First of all, the NSL drove a wedge in the Hong Kong society by making the pro-establishment camp more satisfied with the post-NSL institutions on the one hand, while alienating the pro-democracy camp who lost tremendous trust in them on the other. Second, our study also reveals that one's trust in institutions is significantly associated with the regimes' ability to curb protesters' contentious mobilization. The Hong Kongers who had higher confidence in the NSL to rein in protests would also have a greater level of trust than those who didn't. The effect, however, is substantially smaller among pro-democracy Hong Kongers except for their trust in monitoring institutions. As Beijing is transforming Hong Kong's current institutions from within hopes of bringing about a new political equilibrium, our study helps provide a timely assessment of Hong Kong's institutional landscape and sheds light on how likely this strategy can work.
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When autocrats face threats of nonviolent mass mobilization, they are likely to respond with repression. However, when will the autocrat initiate, step up, or downscale repressive behavior during such protest events? We propose that signals of support from great power patrons play a pivotal role in emboldening rulers to engage in and intensify repressive behavior. To probe this hypothesis, we analyze how supportive and nonsupportive actions and statements of the great powers in the United Nations Security Council shape the repressive behavior of authoritarian regimes during three recent, and similar, cases of protest events: Burma 2007, Zimbabwe 2008, and Burkina Faso 2014. The cases show that the more unequivocal and consistent patron support for the besieged regime is the firmer and more violent are the responses to the domestic challengers.
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For many years, scholars have debated the durability of hybrid or authoritarian regimes.23 In their selectorate theory, Bueno de Mesquita, Smith, Siverson and Morrow postulate that leaders of a regime survive because of their winning coalitions, known as sets of people who support the rulers to remain in office or power.24 In nondemocratic or hybrid regimes, the winning coalition is a group or a set of people who possess power to keep the leaders in office, and in democratic regimes, is a set of people who select or elect the leaders. Furthermore, Bueno de Mesquita et al. assert that to maintain office tenure by keeping the winning coalition loyal, the ruling parties have to design appropriate policies, especially concerning the distribution of private and public goods, to not only serve vested interests of the winning coalitions, but also to entice all of the electorate or society. In democratic regimes where the winning coalition is large, the regimes distribute public goods; however, in authoritarian or hybrid regimes where the winning coalition is small, the regimes distribute private goods to keep their supporters loyal. Despite being praised by a number of scholars25, Bueno de Mesquita et al.’s conceptualization has raised two puzzles: (i) how regimes generate goods (wealth) to entice the winning coalition; and (ii) how the regimes deal with challengers, especially in hybrid regimes. As a contribution to resolving these puzzles, this paper draws upon evidence from the Cambodian case where a hybrid regime has survived over two decades.
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Why do governments use deadly force against unarmed protesters? The government’s threat perception may be a function of the mobilization potential of the opposition and/or the size of the ruling elite’s support coalition. Given the high salience of ethnicity in African politics, governments that depend on small ethnic coalitions will see peaceful protests as more threatening, as the opposition may be able to draw on larger numbers of potential dissidents and excluded groups. Alternately, governments with larger, more homogeneous ethnic coalitions will find nonviolent mobilization less threatening and will be less likely to respond with deadly force. Using the Social Conflict Analysis Database, we demonstrate that as the size – and to a lesser extent homogeneity – of the ethnic ruling coalition grows, governments are significantly less likely to use deadly force against nonviolent protesters. This finding is robust to several operationalizations of the size of the government’s support coalition, the inclusion of other measures of ethnic demographics, and estimators that account for the hierarchical nature of the data. Threat perception hinges not only on dissident tactics but on their demands, their mobilization potential, and their capacity to impose costs on the government. This article demonstrates that the size and composition of the government’s ethnic support base matters as well.
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Rates of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Africa are increasing, yet little is known about how this will affect the political environment. One possibility, explored here, is that increasing levels of FDI within developing states will incentivize state conflict activity. Using an instrumental strategy, we show that in states with a low regard for civil liberties, or with unhealthy economies (i.e. states with a cash deficit), increased access to investment is associated with a higher number of conflict actions by the state. We argue that access to investment can push regimes into using violent strategies to secure their internal environment and to ensure their survival, specifically in their engaging in conflict against opposition and armed combatants. This underscores the need for extensive monitoring of state behavior following the receipt of investment, similar to the oversight of conditional aid.
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The use of repressive strategies by authoritarian regimes received a great deal of attention in the literature, but most explanations treat repression as the product of domestic events and factors. However, the similarity in repressive actions during the Arab Spring or the intense collaboration in dissident disappearances between the military regimes of Latin America indicate a transnational dimension of state repression and authoritarian interdependence that has gone largely understudied. The article develops a theory of diffusion of repression between autocracies between institutionally and experientially similar autocracies. It proposes that the high costs of repression and its uncertain effect on dissent determines autocracies to adjust their levels of repression based on information and knowledge obtained from their peers. Autocracies’ own experience with repression can offer suboptimal and incomplete information. Repression techniques and methods from other autocracies augment the decisionmaking regarding optimal levels of repression for political survival. Then, autocracies adjust their levels of repression based on observed levels of repression in their institutional and experiential peers. The results indicate that authoritarian regimes emulate and learn from regimes with which they share similar institutions. Surprisingly, regimes with similar dissent experience do not emulate and learn from each other. The results also indicate that regional conflict does not affect autocracies’ levels of repression.
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In the aftermath of the Arab uprisings, the difference between monarchies and republics appears more profound than ever. Aside from Bahrain, all of the Middle Eastern monarchies avoided major anti-governmental protests, and no armed conflict has occurred in any of them since 1979. Inspired by Middle Eastern case studies, this article argues that traditional legitimacy contributes to peace in Middle Eastern monarchies. The article explores the argument with time-series cross-sectional data covering 19 Middle Eastern countries from 1947 (or independence) to 2009. Traditional legitimacy is not measured directly but assumed to be embedded in the monarchical regime type, and the results show that alternative covariates are unable to fully explain the monarchical peace. Moreover, the study finds that horizontal discrimination increases the risk of intrastate conflict in authoritarian republics but that discrimination has no effect in monarchies. Future conflict studies should therefore consider legitimacy connected to authoritarian regime types.
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Leaders are incentivized to repress in the face of mobilized dissent. However, leaders are unable to repress alone and rely on repressive agents, who can shirk the order and weaken the leader’s control. I use a formal model to analyze when the leader can use repression strategically to avoid defection, based on leader type. Each type has incentives to repress to distort the leader’s risk of removal and thus deter defection. Power, cost, and uncertainty are important in both the leader’s and the agent’s decision to repress. Testable hypotheses reveal how executive power and punishment influence the level of repression.
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How does international pressure for economic liberalization affect repression in autocracies? I argue that demands for deregulation create a “compensation dynamic” that can lead to repression. Autocrats can liberalize to build goodwill with the international community, but liberalization also threatens the interests of domestic autocratic elites. Liberalization undercuts the networks of patronage and clientelism that empower elites. Thus, liberalizing the economy could weaken political insiders, potentially destabilizing the regime coalition. Insider elites look to counteract this threat by demanding that autocratic rulers commit to protecting the status quo. Dictators are likely to accede and increase repression to placate allies and avoid a potential coup. Crucially, this compensation dynamic only occurs when dictators see rebellion as a potential danger to their tenure. When elites are unable to coordinate a credible threat, dictators can heed international interests without having to compensate regime insiders. In contrast, statistical analyses of a global sample of autocracies show that economic liberalization is associated with repression when elites are strong enough to check dictators’ power.
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Why do autocrats adopt quasi-judicial institutions, and what accounts for the design and outcomes of these bodies? A growing body of research elucidates how autocrats use electoral, legislative, and judicial institutions to co-opt domestic opponents and curry favor from international patrons. However, scholarship on co-optation neglects quasi-judicial mechanisms, such as truth commissions, that can be useful for arranging a historical narrative that bolsters a leader's image while undermining his rivals. In this paper, we formalize the concept of autocratic truth commissions—which account for one-third of truth commissions globally—and develop and test a novel theory of their causes, institutional design, and outcomes. We theorize that autocrats facing threats to their symbolic authority establish self-investigating commissions that are weak and obscure basic facts, including the nature and extent of abuses and the parties responsible. By contrast, autocrats facing imminent threats to their survival install victor's commissions that possess strong investigative powers and culminate in a comprehensive account of rivals' responsibility for and involvement in abuses. We evaluate these expectations through comparative case studies of two autocratic truth commissions in Uganda, and find consistent support. We conclude with a discussion of implications for scholars of autocratic politics and transitional justice.
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The 2011–2012 Arab Spring posed an existential threat to the Gulf Cooperation Council’s six monarchies. A major response was the 2012 GCC Internal Security Pact, an innovative project to enhance cross-border repression of domestic opposition and thus bolster collective security. Yet despite its historic weakness, ongoing domestic unrest, and initial enthusiasm for the agreement, Kuwait’s monarchy did not ultimately ratify the accord. Building on theories of foreign policy roles and identity, this article presents an ideational explanation for this puzzle. The Security Pact failed because it sparked identity contestation. For many Kuwaitis, the prospect of the Sabah monarchy imposing this scheme for greater repression was incompatible with the regime’s historical role of tolerating domestic pluralism and protecting Kuwait from foreign pressures. This role conception of a tolerant protector flowed from historical understandings and collective memory and was cognitively tied to a national self-conception of “Kuwaiti-ness.” The mobilizational scope and symbolic power of this popular opposition convinced the regime to acquiesce, despite possessing the strategic incentive and resources to impose the treaty by force. The Kuwaiti case therefore exemplifies how domestic contestation over regime identities and roles can constrain foreign policy behavior, even in authoritarian states facing severe crises of insecurity.
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Since at least 2011, Turkey has undergone a dual process of democratic backsliding amid the emergence of a new, authoritarian regime under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. An interesting component of this process of authoritarian turn has been the lack of serious opposition on the part of the opposition parties CHP and IYIP parties to the growing political repression, curtailment of civil liberties and growing consolidation of power in the hands of Erdoğan. In this article, we deal with a major puzzle that emerged in Turkey's politics: how did the AKP regime legitimize its authoritarian transformation of the political system in Turkey in the eyes of CHP and IYIP, despite these parties’ political opposition to the AKP regime and its Islamist agenda? In answering this question, we make use of a causal theory that predicted the intensified use of legitimation claims on the part of the incumbent regimes during authoritarian restructuring. Combining the works of several scholars, we utilize the concept of “missions,” along with ideational narratives, performance objectives and six claims of legitimation to explain how the AKP managed to legitimize its authoritarian grip and regime change even in the eyes of the main opposition parties.
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Suriye’deki siyasi, ekonomik ve sosyal sıkıntılar 2011’in başlarında kendisini reform talebi olarak sokak gösterileri şeklinde ortaya koymuştur. Başlangıçta gösterilerin barışçıl ve nispeten az katılımlı olmasına rağmen rejimin katı önlemleri muhalefetin kısa zaman içerisinde geniş kitlelere yayılmasına ve silahlanmasına neden olmuştur. Böylece, sokak gösterileri şeklinde ortaya çıkan istikrarsızlık durumu kısa zaman içerisinde iç savaşa dönüşmüş ve farklı bölgesel ve küresel güçlerin dâhil olmasıyla birlikte Suriye İç Savaşı uluslararası barış ve güvenliği tehdit eden önemli kriz alanlarından birisi haline gelmiştir. Suriye rejimi bu iç savaşın başlangıç safhalarında varoluşsal bir tehditle karşılaşsa da bugün gelinen noktada yaşanan bütün insani drama rağmen Beşar El-Esad yönetimi ayakta kalabileceğini göstermiştir. Bu minvalde iç savaşın seyri içerisinde El-Esad yönetiminin Suriye’de hayatta kalma mücadelesi noktasından ülkenin idaresini tekrardan kazanma noktasına nasıl geldiği önemli bir soru olarak karşımıza çıkmaktadır. Bu sorudan hareketle eldeki çalışma, otoriter Suriye rejiminin hayatta kalma stratejisi ile maddi (fiziksel) ve manevi (düşünsel) imkân ve kabiliyetlerini bu strateji içerisinde nasıl seferber ettiğini ele almaktadır. İlk bölümde Arap Ayaklanmaları süreci kısaca ele alınacak olup Suriye’deki gelişmelere değinilmektedir. Ardından otoriter rejimlerin ayakta kalma stratejilerinin literatürde nasıl açıklandığı karşılaştırmalı olarak incelenmekte olup, bunların Suriye örneğini açıklama kapasitesi değerlendirilmektedir. Son bölümde ise rejimin hayatta kalma stratejisi incelenmekte olup esasen bu stratejinin yerel, bölgesel ve uluslararası olmak üzere üç düzeyde ittifak genişletme stratejisine dayandığı savunulmaktadır. Bu çerçevede yerel düzeyde kendi varoluşlarını rejimin devamında gören çıkar gruplarını mobilize ederek; bölgesel düzeyde muhalefeti mezhepsel bir söylemle marjinalize edip bölgedeki devlet ve devlet-dışı aktörleri savaşa dâhil ederek; küresel düzeyde ise rejimin devamını büyük güçlerin bir güç mücadelesi haline getirerek Suriye rejiminin ittifak ağını genişletmesi üzerinde durulmaktadır.
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Can deliberate political instability, including terrorism and/or political violence, have an effect on changing formal political institutions? This paper offers two major contributions toward answering this question, one focused on data and one focused on methodology. In the first instance, this paper introduces a brand-new dataset of monthly political instability in Russia from 1788 to 1914; Czarist Russia was a country plagued by informal instability and political violence throughout the nineteenth century, and which saw waves of reform and reaction. As such, it makes an excellent test case for examining the relationship between informal political instability and formal political change. Secondly, in order to trace the evolution of Russia’s political institutions in the presence of various forms of instability, I utilize non-traditional estimation in the form of Poisson, IV-Poisson-GMM, and logistic regressions to account for the slow-moving nature of political regime change. The results of these estimations show that some forms of instability did indeed “work” in forcing a modicum of liberalization. On the other hand, large-scale unrest or external conflict had no correlation with political regime change and actually appeared to be counterproductive.
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In general, the human rights scholarship finds stronger states to be more humane. In particular, Englehart’s recent book and article assert that ‘petty despots’, rather than ‘exemplary villains’, are the real culprits behind the abuse of human rights. However, some exemplary villains are truly exemplary; providing them with greater powers will only intensify human rights abuses. Indeed, the idea that even dictatorships would better protect rights when stronger contradicts some of the most well-known cases of mass-murder that occurred in powerful authoritarian states. In an attempt to resolve this puzzle, this article argues that, while state capacity does matter, it matters differently for dictatorships and democracies. In both regimes, there are certain types of human rights violations that, from the government’s perspective, happen unwittingly. These unauthorized human rights violations are perpetrated by petty despots trying to benefit from the state’s principal–agent problems. Yet, unlike a democracy, a dictatorship can authorize the violation of certain types of human rights to accomplish its objectives. Whereas state capacity can reduce ‘unauthorized’ types of abuses, it would not necessarily diminish such abuses that are ‘authorized’ by the state. The net effects of state capacity, therefore, will not be as positive for autocracies as they are for democracies. To validate this argument, this article conducts 18 ordered logistic regressions with a time-series cross-sectional dataset that encompasses no less than 142 countries from the period of 1981 to 2002. The empirical analysis provides solid support for the theorized relationship among human rights, state capacity and regime type. As predicted, state capacity improves human rights in democracies but not necessarily in autocracies.
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Does it matter whether human rights (HR) shaming is accompanied by acknowledgments of reforms and progress? Do such acknowledgments weaken or strengthen the impact of shaming? Rulers decide whether to oppress or to comply with HR treaty obligations by considering what compliance entails and by weighing the internal and external costs and benefits of oppression. Research shows that HR shaming alters such considerations and is associated with changes in HR protection levels. Can the same be said of faming? This article examines three forms of HR reporting: faming, which focuses on positive developments; shaming, which focuses on problematic HR practices; and scrutiny, which combines shaming and faming. The article analyzes the association between shaming, faming, and scrutiny by UN treaty bodies, on the one hand, and oppression on the other. The potential associations are conceptualized as mitigation, backsliding, and specification. The analysis finds that shaming with no faming and faming with no shaming are each negatively associated with HR protection. Scrutiny, the combination of shaming and faming, is positively associated with subsequent HR protection levels, and the higher the level of scrutiny the higher the subsequent level of HR protection. The article argues that the reason for this association is that the combination of shaming and faming helps policymakers understand how to properly implement their treaty obligations and how to improve HR protection. The article draws policy and theoretical implications including the need for balanced and detailed HR reporting, and the importance of learning in HR advocacy.
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The prevalence of depression varies widely across nations, but we do not yet understand what underlies this variation. Here we use estimates from the Global Burden of Disease study to analyze the correlates of depression across 195 countries and territories. We begin by identifying potential cross-correlates of depression using past clinical and cultural psychology literature. We then take a data-driven approach to modeling which factors correlate with depression in zero-order analyses, and in a multiple regression model that controls for covariation between factors. Our findings reveal several potential correlates of depression, including cultural individualism, daylight hours, divorce rate, and GDP per capita. Cultural individualism is the only factor that remains significant across all our models, even when adjusting for spatial autocorrelation, mental healthcare workers per capita, multicollinearity, and outliers. These findings shed light on how depression varies around the world, the sociocultural and environmental factors that underlie this variation, and potential future directions for the study of culture and mental illness.
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* Please note that a more recent version of this paper was published in the Journal of Democracy and can be found here: https://journalofdemocracy.org/articles/how-autocrats-weaponize-womens-rights/ * Most research on authoritarian strategies for regime survival does not consider gender equality reforms. Yet, many contemporary reforms aimed at improving women’s rights have been carried out in non-democracies that historically have had stark gender inequalities. While this pattern has been noted in gender and politics research, the focus has mainly been on what it means for women, rather than what it could mean for autocrats. In this article we develop a framework for studying how particular policy reforms are linked to legitimacy claims made by autocrats in order to increase regime stability. The framework is a typology of legitimacy claims, constructed to appease different threats to authoritarian regime stability and targeting corresponding actors. We use the framework in a review of existing studies on gender equality reforms in authoritarian settings and put forward a research agenda. In proposing this agenda, we consider challenges in research on autocrats and gender equality, including the heterogeneity of authoritarian regimes, the difference between types of gender equality reforms, and the interaction between different legitimacy claims. While our proposed research agenda concerns gender equality reforms, we tentatively suggest that the framework that structures the agenda has the potential to be used also for other types of policy reforms.
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This introductory essay outlines the core themes of the special issue on the rise and fall of Hong Kong's Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement. In the essay, we highlight several theoretical and empirical contributions the featured papers make to our understanding of the protest–repression nexus from the onset of the movement to the imposition of the National Security Law. First, we describe the political and social contexts of the movement. Second, we present our empirical findings on Hong Kongers' political preferences. Finally, we highlight new research avenues arising from this special issue.
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Scholars note that successful and failed coups d'´ etat occur as a result of elite bargaining failure. Yet we know less about how elite bargaining failure affects physical integrity rights following a coup. We develop a theory to address this question, which contends that bargaining failure is likely to decrease respect for human right as the post-coup regimes preemptively repress as a show of strength to deter threats from those excluded from power and settle scores through cycles of retaliation. Additionally , we argue that the retaliation cycle of score settling will last longer after a failed coup because of informational problems that emerge when targeting opponents. Although successful coups may lead to competitive elections, coups remain a risky political proposition, as both failed and successful coups are likely to decrease respect for human rights. Employing data on coups and physical integrity rights from 1980 to 2015, our statistical analyses find although coup failure and success are negatively associated with respect for physical integrity rights the cycle of retaliation last longer after failed coups.
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This article examines contrasting claims made by scholars of oil and politics that oil wealth either tends (1) to undermine regime durability or (2) to enhance it. Using cross-sectional time-series data from 107 developing states between 1960 and 1999, I test the effects of oil wealth on regime failure, political protests, and civil war. I find that oil wealth is robustly associated with increased regime durability, even when controlling for repression, and with lower likelihoods of civil war and antistate protest. I also find that neither the boom nor bust periods exerted any significant effect on regime durability in the states most dependent on exports, even while those states saw more protests during the bust. In short, oil wealth has generally increased the durability of regimes, and repression does not account for this effect. Future research focused on the origins of robust coalitions in oil-rich states is most likely to provide fruitful explanations to this puzzle.
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Several major theories — deprivation theory, resource mobilization theory, and the theory of collective action — make different predictions about the effects of repression on political protest. The results of empirical research have been inconclusive as well: some studies have found that repression deters protest, whereas others have found a positive (radicalizing) effect of repression on protest This article proposes a model that explains the different effects of repression, in conjunction with other incentives, on political protest. We first hypothesize that repression has a direct negative (deterring) effect on protest because repression is a cost. This direct effect may be endorsed under some conditions, or it may be neutralized, or even reversed if repression leads to micromobilization processes that raise incentives for protest. These processes are set in motion if persons are exposed to repression, if repression is considered illegitimate by these persons and their social environment (which holds in case of legal protest), and if these persons are members of groups that support protest. Under such conditions repression indirectly increases protest by launching micromobilization processes. These processes and their effects are specified in a model which is tested and confirmed by a panel study of opponents of nuclear power in West Germany.
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Why do some autocrats survive for decades, and others fall soon after taking power? The authors argue that when authoritarian rulers need to solicit the cooperation of outsiders or deter the threat of rebellion, they rely on political institutions. Partisan legislatures incorporate potential opposition forces, giving them a stake in the ruler's survival. By broadening the basis of support for autocrats, these institutions lengthen their tenures. An analysis of all authoritarian rulers in power during the 1946-1996 period provides evidence of the effect of nominally democratic institutions on their political survival.
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Most of the burgeoning theoretical and empirical literature on the role of leaders in comparative politics and international relations is built on the assumption that leaders choose policies to stay in office. However, leaders can lose office in a variety of ways. Leaders can lose office as a result of ill health; they can lose office in a regular manner; or they can be removed in an irregular manner such as by a coup. How a leader loses office, moreover, significantly affects the leader's subsequent fate. A broader perspective on not just the probability, but also the manner of losing office—and its associated consequences—thus suggests an additional mechanism to explain the behavior of leaders. If policy significantly affects not just whether, but also how, leaders lose office, leaders might design policy to minimize the anticipated negative consequences of losing office. Once we unpack the manner in which leaders lose office, for example, we see that the postulated logic of diversionary war only holds for a subgroup of leaders: those who fear an irregular removal from office.
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Existing literature on state repression generally ignores the diversity that exists within autocracies. At present, different political systems are collapsed together, leaving unique approaches to political order unexamined. This limitation is important for policymakers, activists, and everyday citizens around the world seeking new ways to reduce government coercion. Within this study, the author explores an alternative path to decreasing repression — a `tyrannical peace'. Examining 137 countries from 1976 to 1996, he finds that single-party regimes are generally less repressive than other autocracies. Results also show that military governments decrease civil liberties restriction and the end of the Cold War has varied influences on repression, depending upon the form considered and whether this variable is interacted with another. There are thus alternative routes to peace, but these routes are not equally robust. The implications of this analysis are threefold. First, those interested in understanding why states restrict civil liberties and violate human rights must disaggregate their conceptions of system type and repression. Second, policymakers must adjust their approach to reducing state repression according to the type of authoritarian government they are confronted with. Third, advocates for human rights must accept that, in lieu of full democratization, alternatives exist.
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International human rights treaties have been ratified by many nation-states, including those ruled by repressive governments, raising hopes for better practices in many corners of the world. Evidence increasingly suggests, however, that human rights laws are most effective in stable or consolidating democracies or in states with strong civil society activism. If so, treaties may be failing to make a difference in those states most in need of reform — the world's worst abusers — even though they have been the targets of the human rights regime from the very beginning. The authors address this question of compliance by focusing on the behavior of repressive states in particular. Through a series of cross-national analyses on the impact of two key human rights treaties, the article demonstrates that (1) governments, including repressive ones, frequently make legal commitments to human rights treaties, subscribing to recognized norms of protection and creating opportunities for socialization and capacity-building necessary for lasting reforms; (2) these commitments mostly have no effects on the world's most terrible repressors even long into the future; (3) recent findings that treaty effectiveness is conditional on democracy and civil society do not explain the behavior of the world's most abusive governments; and (4) realistic institutional reforms will probably not help to solve this problem.
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Does democracy reduce state repression as human rights activism, funding, and policy suggest? What are the limitations of this argument? Investigating 137 countries from 1976 to 1996, State Repression and the Domestic Democratic Peace seeks to shed light on these questions. Specifically, it finds that electoral participation and competition generally reduces personal integrity violations like torture and mass killing; other aspects of democracy do not wield consistent influences. This negative influence can be overwhelmed by conflict, however, and thus there are important qualifications for the peace proposition. © Christian Davenport 2007 and Cambridge University Press, 2009.
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This study examines the relationships between collective violence, economic inequality, and repression. Some researchers propose that collective violence results from economic deprivation, while others emphasize the role of repression in producing violence. This study uses polynomial equations to analyze these relationships on 52 countries. Results suggest that collective violence varies as a cubic non-monotonic "N" shaped function of repression, while economic inequality is not directly related to violence. A strong military infrastructure is also found to deter collective violence. The combination of results supports the argument that extremely repressive regimes with weak military infrastructures tend to encourage a backlash of violence.
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With the end of the Cold War economic issues moved to the fore of the international agenda. The integration of markets, dominated by multi-national corporations and orchestrated by international financial institutions, has many concerned for the political and economic rights of the common citizen. This is a comprehensive cross-national study examining the effect of globalization on the attainment of the subgroup of human rights known as personal integrity rights. The impact of global economic patterns on the attainment of these rights is mixed.
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Death rate from political violence is postulated to vary cross-nationally as a positively accelerated time-lagged function of income inequality and as a nonmonotonic inverted "U" function of regime repressiveness. The former hypothesis is consistent with approaches to the explanation of collective political violence that emphasize the general concept of discontent or, more specifically, relative deprivation; the latter hypothesis is consistent with a political-process version of the resource mobilization approach. In the context of a multivariate model estimated across two decades, 1958-67 and 1968-77, support is found for the inequality hypothesis. Support also is found for the regime repressiveness hypothesis in the decade (1968-77) for which the index of regime repressiveness is available. The U-curve effect of regime repressiveness appears to have stronger impact on variation in rates of deadly political violence than the positively accelerated effect of income inequality.
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African regimes' repressive strategies changed during the post-1989 wave of democratization. Conventional methods of coercion--targeting of the opposition by the official security forces--were insufficient and costly in multiparty regimes. Democratization enfranchised the opposition and broadened the range of political challengers to include rural constituencies and entire ethnic groups. Furthermore, human rights abuses raised the threat of international sanctions at a much lower threshold than during the cold war. Rulers in Kenya and Rwanda responded by privatizing state violence. Privatized repression allowed them to neutralize widespread challenges, while distancing themselves from political violence to minimize friction with aid donors.
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I investigate how and why the Shah's policies of accommodation and repression escalated the revolutionary mobilization of the Iranian population. Several major theories--micromobilization theory, value expectancy, and bandwagon (critical mass) models--are used to sort out the empirical relationships between protest behavior (violent and nonviolent), strikes, spatial diffusion, concessions, and repression in the year prior to the Shah's exit from Iran. Estimates from Poisson regression models show that repression had a short-term negative effect and a long-term positive effect on overall levels of protest via repression's influence on spatial diffusion. I infer that this pattern of effects stems from a combination of deterrent and micromobilization mechanisms. Concessions expanded the protests by accelerating massive urban strikes that in turn generated more opposition activity throughout Iran. Spatial diffusion was encouraged by government concessions and massive labor strikes. Mutually reinforcing relationships between concessions, strikes, and spatial diffusion indicate the significance of intergroup dynamics in the revolutionary process.
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Theory: Two expected utility theories and one psychological/resource mobilization theory of the impact of repression on dissent are tested in this study. Hypotheses: Lichbach (1987) hypothesizes that dissidents will substitute violent protest for nonviolent protest behavior (and vice versa) when confronted with repression. Gupta, Singh, and Sprague (1993) put forth a contextual argument: repression spurs violence in democracies, but high levels of repression are effective in authoritarian regimes. Rasler (1996) contends that timing matters: repression is effective in the short run, but spurs pro-test in the long run. Methods: Sequential tests of events data are used to test the hypotheses. Results: Lichbach's theory is supported by the evidence, but neither Gupta, Singh, and Sprague's nor Rasler's theories receives support.
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Human Rights Quarterly 17.1 (1995) 170-191 Current US foreign policy goals put great stress on extending democracy, and US legislation -- never systematically enforced -- has banned aid to gross violators of human rights for two decades, making exceptions for aid which benefits needy people. Gross violations of human rights which are criminalized in international law include genocide, extrajudicial executions, and torture. These violations are labeled herein as violations of life-integrity. Based on a coded content analysis of Amnesty International Reports for 1987 and Freedom House rankings, this article will examine the relationship between life-integrity violations and freedom in 145 states during 1987 and will probe two alternate hypotheses. Our findings support the second, which asserts that there will be more conflict mobilized and incentives for repression -- i.e., worse violations of life integrity -- as democracy is extended before it is fully institutionalized (More Murder in the Middle). This article further examines the effects of ethnic discrimination, war, development, and inequality (and the linkages among them) on life-integrity violations, and considers the implications for research and policy. Since the end of the Cold War, democracy has gained new ground in many states and has become a renewed object of US foreign policy in the Clinton Administration. The sterile and ideological debate over the precedence, linkage, or priority of social and economic rights versus political and civil rights in less developed or poorer states has been almost forgotten as people in those states protest and rebel against their authoritarian governments. One premise of the ideological assertion that political and civil rights must be subordinated for the sake of development was that despotism led to economic growth. The assumption that authoritarianism was more likely than democracy to produce growth has been disconfirmed by Kurzman, reviewing three decades of data: 1952-1982. Several questions can be posed about these developments. Do democracy and democratization protect the most basic of human rights? What are the most basic rights? Why should we expect that it does? If it does not, how can this be explained? I begin with the assumption that the right to exist and to be free from bodily invasion and terror of being caught, held, and disappeared is a basic desideratum among humans which transcends culture and ages. Sociologically, rights are claims successfully wrested from governments and other power holders. I label certain acts as violations of life-integrity because the violations negate an integrated set of claims respecting the biological and social integration of persons and groups: A) the integrity of mind and body (denied by genocide, murder, torture, and terror); B) of being the owner of one's labor and being able to move (denied by slavery, segregation, and apartheid); C) the integration of self and family which creates progeny (denied by prohibiting marriage and family development); and D) of the reciprocal guarantees for the protection of human groups (denied by genocide). These rights, and their violations (see Figure 1) are defined in international law and in four of six cases criminalized by special conventions. For two decades, US domestic laws regulating foreign aid have recognized these rights under "respect for the integrity of the person" in the annual State Department report on countries' human rights practices. Although there is hypothetically more than one dimension of life-integrity (e.g., rights 4, 5, and 6 in Figure 1 might have another dimension behind them), the present research examines only one dimension, Dimension A, which includes the right to life; the right to personal inviolability; and the right to be free of fear of arbitrary seizure, detention, and punishment. [Figure 1] Given the similarity between Dimension A (hereinafter referred to as life-integrity) and the substance of guarantees of personal security dating from the Magna Carta which are embedded in the western liberal tradition, one might expect that the more states embodied the ideal of liberal democracy, the higher respect such states would have for life-integrity (or the more checks there would be against violations). Citizens would be free to express themselves and to participate politically without fear of loss of life, liberty, and violation by state agents. Thus, respect...
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For their empirical evaluation, several active research programs in economics and political science require data on ethnic groups across countries. “Ethnic group,” however, is a slippery concept. After addressing conceptual and practical obstacles, I present a list of 822 ethnic groups in 160 countries that made up at least 1 percent of the country population in the early 1990s. I compare a measure of ethnic fractionalization based on this list with the most commonly used measure. I also construct an index of cultural fractionalization that uses the structural distance between languages as a proxy for the cultural distance between groups in a country.
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It is often underlined that African oil-producing countries are politically unstable as a result of the role that this resource can play in political incentives. Based on data documenting the duration in office of heads of state of 26 African countries (North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa), this study reveals a surprising twist on the conventional wisdom: The purported instability of African oil-producing countries does not appear to extend to the executive branch of the state. Conversely, using survival analysis, this research suggests a positive link between oil rents and the duration in office of African leaders. Findings also reveal that other mineral rents do not exhibit the same stabilizing effect. The author's interpretation of these results is grounded in an analysis of the practicalities of oil investment and the strategic aspect of oil.
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This article examines how seven Latin American governments responded to 827 contentious political challenges. The research goes beyond most previous research by considering four governmental responses: concession, repression, toleration, and the combination of concession and repression. The results show that challengers can increase their chances of winning concessions by making limited demands and utilizing nonviolent occupations and hunger strikes. Violent challenges are ineffective and tend to result in repression. Governments also tend to offer concessions under democratic regimes or when they have recently been criticized for human rights abuses while also receiving substantial foreign aid and investment.
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Existing models of revolutions tend to focus only on the behavior of the revolutionaries and do not account for government actions. This article presents a model that captures the decision making of a repressive government, career dissidents, and revolutionary participants. The model shows that (a) governments rarely offer concessions to protesters, (b) dissident activity is more likely to be successful in motivating large-scale protest under highly repressive conditions, and (c) Kuran's hypothesis that regimes collapse suddenly with little warning is confirmed. The authors use the model to interpret the different outcomes that occurred during the successful Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia and the failed revolution in China during the Tiananmen Square democracy protests.
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Incumbent political leaders risk deposition by challengers within the existing political rules and by revolutionary threats. Building on Bueno de Mesquita, Smith, Siverson, and Morrow's selectorate theory, the model here examines the policy responses of office-seeking leaders to revolutionary threats. Whether leaders suppress public goods such as freedom of assembly and freedom of information to hinder the organizational ability of potential revolutionaries or appease potential revolutionaries by increasing the provision of public goods depends, in part, on the sources of government revenues. Empirical tests show that governments with access to revenue sources that require few labor inputs by the citizens, such as natural resource rents or foreign aid, reduce the provision of public goods and increase the odds of increased authoritarianism in the face of revolutionary pressures. In contrast, without these sources of unearned revenues, governments respond to revolutionary pressures by increasing the provision of public goods and democratizing.
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This crossnational study seeks to explain variations in governmental repression of human rights to personal integrity (state terrorism) in a 153-country sample during the eighties. We outline theoretical perspectives on this topic and subject them to empirical tests using a technique appropriate for our pooled cross-sectional time-series design, namely, ordinary least squares with robust standard errors and a lagged dependent variable. We find democracy and participation in civil or international war to have substantively important and statistically significant effects on repression. The effects of economic development and population size are more modest. The hypothesis linking leftist regime types to abuse of personal integrity rights receives some support. We find no reliable evidence that population growth, British cultural influence, military control, or economic growth affect levels of repression. We conclude by considering the implications of our findings for scholars and practitioners concerned with the prevention of personal integrity abuse.
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Aggregate data studies of domestic political conflict have used an Action-Reaction (AR) model that has produced contradictory findings about the repression/dissent nexus: Repression by regimes may either increase or decrease dissent by opposition groups. To clarify these findings I propose an alternative Rational Actor (RA) model from which are derived three propositions. (1) An increase in a government's repression of nonviolence will reduce the nonviolent activities of an opposition group but increase its violent activities. (2) The balance of effects, that is, whether an increase in the regime's repression increases or decreases the opposition group's total dissident activities, depends upon the government's accommodative policy to the group. (3) Consistent government accommodative and repressive policies reduce dissent; inconsistent policies increase dissent. The RA model thus accounts for the contradictory findings produced by the AR-based aggregate data studies of repression and dissent.
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Propositions about determinants of political violence at the cross-national level are derived from rational action theory and tested across the entire population of independent states in the mid-1970s. The data support two rational action hypotheses: Rates of domestic political violence are higher at intermediate levels of both regime repressiveness and negative sanctions than at either low or high levels of these indicators of institutionalized and behavioral coercion. Two hypotheses that can be interpreted within either a rational action or a deprivation framework also are supported: High rates of economic growth reduce the incidence of political violence, and potential separatism increases the incidence of violence. A deprivation hypothesis that high life expectancy reduces the incidence of political violence is not supported. Overall, this set of findings favors a rational action rather than a deprivation approach to explaining why nations differ in rates of political violence.
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The dynamic effect of government coercion on dissident activities has been a controversial issue. It is contended that this relationship is significantly altered when different control variables such as regime type, ideological orientation, and economic performance are employed. Time series data based on 24 countries is used to estimate the net effect of government coercion on two types of dissident activities: protest demonstrations and deaths from domestic group violence. It is shown that in democratic nations, government sanctions provoke a higher level of protest demonstrations. However, in nondemocratic countries, at the extreme, severe sanctions can impose an unbearable cost, resulting in an inverse relationship between sanctions and political deaths. The nature of the regime influences not only the dynamics of the relationship between government coercion and dissident activities, but also the qualitative character of opposition response.
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Does a state's use of indiscriminate violence incite insurgent attacks? To date, most existing theories and empirical studies have concluded that such violence is highly counterproductive because it creates new grievances while forcing victims to seek security, if not safety, in rebel arms. This proposition is tested using Russian artillery fire in Chechnya (2000 to 2005) to estimate indiscriminate violence's effect on subsequent patterns of insurgent attacks across matched pairs of similar shelled and nonshelled villages. The findings are counterintuitive. Shelled villages experience a 24 percent reduction in posttreatment mean insurgent attacks relative to control villages. In addition, commonly cited “triggers” for insurgent retaliation, including the lethality and destructiveness of indiscriminate violence, are either negatively correlated with insurgent attacks or statistically insignificant.
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To survive in office, dictators need to establish power-sharing arrangements with their ruling coalitions, which are often not credible. If dictators cannot commit to not abusing their “loyal friends”—those who choose to invest in the existing autocratic institutions rather than in forming subversive coalitions— they will be in permanent danger of being overthrown, both by members of the ruling elite and by outside rivals. This article explores the role of autocratic political parties and elections (both one-party and multiparty) in mitigating the commitment problem, making power-sharing between the dictator and his ruling coalition possible.
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Many countries have adopted the form of democracy with little of its substance.This makes the task of classifying regimes more difficult,but also more important.
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Joel D. Barkan is professor of political science at the University of Iowa and the editor and co-author of Beyond Capitalism versus Socialism in Kenya and Tanzania, a forthcoming book on democratic and economic reform in East Africa. In 1992 and 1993 he served as regional democracy and governance advisor for East and Southern Africa to the U.S. Agency for International Development. The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance provided by Judith K. Geist in the preparation of this article. The views expressed, however, are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of USAID or any other agency or department of the United States government.
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This paper uses a new typology of authoritarian regimes to explore the extent to which regime type explains the survival (and breakdown) of non-democratic regimes as well as the impact of different types of authoritarian regimes on democratic development. Our results demonstrate that different types of authoritarian regime face different propensities to develop toward democracy. Hence the nature of the authoritarian regime in question deserves to be added to the list of democracy's essential preconditions. One regime type—the limited multiparty system—stands out as the prime stepping stone to democracy. The fact that this regime type has become the most common form of authoritarianism can be seen as a promising sign for the future.
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Prior research indicates that different types of authoritarian regimes break down in different ways because key cadres in those regimes have different interests and face different strategic environments. Building on that theoretical foundation, I use event history models to examine the effects of contentious collective action on the likelihood of authoritarian breakdown. This analysis shows that some kinds of autocracy are more vulnerable to breakdown in the wake of contentious events than others, and that the strength and direction of this effect varies not only across types of authoritarianism, but across forms of collective action as well.
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Political conflict across Africa is often linked to the pervasive use of patronage in retaining control of the state. However, few sources of data have been available to systematically examine the relationship between a leader's patronage strategies and the likelihood of an extraconstitutional change in power. This article employs ministerial appointments to the cabinet as a proxy for changes in the size of a leader's patronage coalition. With time-series cross-section data on 40 African countries, this study shows that the size of cabinets varies systematically according to regime type, resource constraints, ethnic fractionalization, and total population. It then shows that African leaders extend their tenure in office by expanding their patronage coalition through cabinet appointments. A proportional hazards model of regime duration indicates that cabinet expansion lowers the probability of a leader's being deposed through a coup. The appointment of one additional minister to the cabinet lowers a leader's coup risk by a greater extent than does a 1-percentage-point increase in economic growth.