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The Political Economy of Dictatorship
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  • 34 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 404 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.59 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521794497 | ISBN-10: 0521794498)

DOI: 10.2277/0521794498

  • Also available in Hardback
  • Published December 2000

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 02:09 GMT, 28 November 2015)


Although much of the world still lives today, as always, under dictatorship, the behaviour of these regimes and of their leaders often appears irrational and mysterious. In The Political Economy of Dictatorship, Ronald Wintrobe uses rational choice theory to model dictatorships: their strategies for accumulating power, the constraints on their behavior, and why they are often more popular than is commonly accepted. The book explores both the politics and the economics of dictatorships, and the interaction between them. The questions addressed include: What determines the repressiveness of a regime? Can political authoritarianism be 'good' for the economy? After the fall, who should be held responsible for crimes against human rights? The book contains many applications, including chapters on Nazi Germany, Soviet Communism, South Africa under apartheid, the ancient Roman Empire and Pinochet's Chile. It also provides a guide to the policies which should be followed by the democracies towards dictatorships.

• One of the only recent scholarly studies investigating dictatorship from a full political economy perspective • Author has published one coauthored and two coedited studies with the Press • Can be used as supplementary text in courses on political economy, political and economic systems, from upper-undergraduate level upwards


Acknowledgements; Part I. Introduction: 1. The problem; 2. The dictator's dilemma; Part II. Equilibrium Political Repression: 3. The tinpot and the totalitarian; 4. Tyranny and timocracy; 5. A more general model; Part III. Economics of Autocracy: 6. The economy of dictatorship; 7. Redistribution and rent-seeking; 8. Apartheid; 9. The bureaucratic economy I: the model; 10. The bureaucratic economy II: rise and fall; Part IV. The Dynamics of Dictatorship: 11. Democracy in the inaction zone; 12. Ethnic conflict and nationalism: from expressionism and futurism to kitsch; 13. The simple economics of criminal bureaucratic responsibility; Part V. Conclusion: 14. The machinery of dictatorship; References; Indexes.


'This is an important book and essential reading for students of democratization, especially, but alas! not exclusively, the democratization of authoritarian regimes.' Peter Calvert, University of Southampton

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