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The Political Economy of Electoral Authoritarianism: Fiscal and Financial Conditions for Elections in Dictatorships
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When do dictators introduce multiparty elections? Elections can stabilize dictatorships, but not all dictatorships hold elections. Prior research has focused on explaining how elections stabilize authoritarian regimes, but prior research does not explain the conditions under which dictatorships transition to electoral authoritarianism. In three chapters, I argue that a dictator introduces elections when their fiscal and financial circumstances provide them both the motives and the means to use elections to increase their security in office. I conduct statistical analyses of time series cross-sectional and event history data. I find that dictators introduce elections when they are fiscally insecure, but not too insecure, and when they are financially unstable. My findings also suggest that the political economy of modern electoral authoritarianism is similar to the historical sources of representative institutions in authoritarian regimes.
Subjectelectoral authoritarianism, elections, dictatorships, political economy, finance, regime type, politics
Mitchell, Austin Michael (2020). The Political Economy of Electoral Authoritarianism: Fiscal and Financial Conditions for Elections in Dictatorships. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from