The Politics of Authoritarian Rule

The Politics of Authoritarian Rule

by Milan W. Svolik
     
 

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What drives politics in dictatorships? Milan W. Svolik argues authoritarian regimes must resolve two fundamental conflicts. Dictators face threats from the masses over which they rule - the problem of authoritarian control. Secondly from the elites with whom dictators rule - the problem of authoritarian power-sharing. Using the tools of game theory, Svolik explains

Overview

What drives politics in dictatorships? Milan W. Svolik argues authoritarian regimes must resolve two fundamental conflicts. Dictators face threats from the masses over which they rule - the problem of authoritarian control. Secondly from the elites with whom dictators rule - the problem of authoritarian power-sharing. Using the tools of game theory, Svolik explains why some dictators establish personal autocracy and stay in power for decades; why elsewhere leadership changes are regular and institutionalized, as in contemporary China; why some dictatorships are ruled by soldiers, as Uganda was under Idi Amin; why many authoritarian regimes, such as PRI-era Mexico, maintain regime-sanctioned political parties; and why a country's authoritarian past casts a long shadow over its prospects for democracy, as the unfolding events of the Arab Spring reveal. Svolik complements these and other historical case studies with the statistical analysis on institutions, leaders and ruling coalitions across dictatorships from 1946 to 2008.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Politics of Authoritarian Rule is a very important contribution to political science. The book provides much-needed theoretical microfoundations to a growing, but still scattered, literature on authoritarianism. It is based on superb empirical work. Above all, it is the product of Svolik's first-rate analytical mind working at its best."
Carles Boix, Princeton University

"In the nascent literature on the political economy of dictatorship, The Politics of Authoritarian Rule stands out. Few scholars know as much about authoritarianism as does Milan Svolik, and that rich knowledge informs every model and empirical test here. Anybody who wants to know (and who doesn't?) why dictators behave as they do should read this book."
Scott Gehlbach, University of Wisconsin

"In this superb book, Milan Svolik convincingly argues that authoritarian politics are the result of two critical conflicts: one between the ruler and the ruled, and the other among the ruling elites, both characterized by the fundamental problems of credible commitment and the ready availability of repression. This is a sophisticated, rigorous, and nuanced analysis that transforms our thinking about both the varieties of authoritarian rule and the underpinnings of authoritarian durability."
Anna Grzymala-Busse, University of Michigan

"Milan Svolik's book is a valuable and wide-ranging contribution to the emerging body of research on authoritarian regimes. Combining formal game-theoretic models, analysis of original cross-national datasets and an impressive array of short illustrative case-studies, he gives new insights into many of the key questions which occupy scholars of comparative authoritarianism. He does so from a parsimonious and powerful theoretical standpoint."
CEU Political Science Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781139564700
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
09/17/2012
Series:
Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
5 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“The Politics of Authoritarian Rule is a very important contribution to political science. The book provides much-needed theoretical microfoundations to a growing, but still scattered, literature on authoritarianism. It is based on superb empirical work. Above all, it is the product of Svolik’s first-rate analytical mind working at its best.” – Carles Boix, Princeton University

“In the nascent literature on the political economy of dictatorship, The Politics of Authoritarian Rule stands out. Few scholars know as much about authoritarianism as does Milan Svolik, and that rich knowledge informs every model and empirical test here. Anybody who wants to know (and who doesn't?) why dictators behave as they do should read this book.” – Scott Gehlbach, University of Wisconsin

“In this superb book, Milan Svolik convincingly argues that authoritarian politics are the result of two critical conflicts: one between the ruler and the ruled, and the other among the ruling elites, both characterized by the fundamental problems of credible commitment and the ready availability of repression. This is a sophisticated, rigorous, and nuanced analysis that transforms our thinking about both the varieties of authoritarian rule and the underpinnings of authoritarian durability.” – Anna Grzymala-Busse, University of Michigan

Meet the Author

Milan W. Svolik is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago. Svolik's articles on authoritarian politics, transitions to democracy, and democratic consolidation have appeared in leading political science journals, including the American Political Science Review and the American Journal of Political Science. His research interests include comparative politics, political economy and formal political theory.

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