The Politics of Authoritarian Rule

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 17, 2012 - Political Science
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.
 

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User Review  - thcson - LibraryThing

This book is at its best when the author discusses the problematic nature of dictatorial rule in general terms. The dictator's first problem stems from his lack of popular legitimacy: he has to ensure ... Read full review

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User Review  - bdtrump - LibraryThing

Svolik offers a diverse and global view of dictatorships and authoritarian regimes - and reads well. A quick and easy enough read for a student in the field. Read full review

Contents

Figures
1
Tables
18
The World of Authoritarian Politics
19
And Then There Was One Authoritarian PowerSharing and
53
When and Why Institutions Contribute to Authoritarian
85
Moral Hazard in Authoritarian Repression and the Origins
123
Why Authoritarian Parties? The Regime Party as an Instrument
162
Incentives and Institutions in Authoritarian
196
Bibliography
203
Index
223
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About the author (2012)

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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