Modeling authoritarian regimes

Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (3):243-283 (2008)
In the past few years, a body of ideas based on political economy theory has been built up by North and Weingast, Olson, Przeworski, and Acemoglu and Robinson. One theme that emerges from this literature concerns the transition to democracy: why would dominant elites give up oligarchic power? This article addresses this question by considering a formal model of an authoritarian regime, and then examining three historical regimes: the Argentine junta of 1976—83; Francoist Spain, 1938—75; the Soviet system, 1924—91. We argue that these historical analyses suggest that party dictatorships are more institutionally durable than military or fascist ones. Key Words: democratic transition • authoritarian regimes • rational choice theory.
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