Autocrats' Survival Strategies


What is the effect of budget volatility on an autocrat’s propensity to form an inclusive cabinet? Because budgets vary over time, leaders face a dynamic tradeoff between today’s choice of cabinet composition and the likelihood of surviving tomorrow. We study this problem by developing a unified theoretical and empirical model of autocratic survival, where a farsighted autocrat must decide whether or not to adopt inclusive cabinets given today’s payoffs, the likelihood of being overthrown, and the expected evolution of the budget.

Working Paper