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Oil and Autocratic Regime Survival

Abstract

This article uncovers a new mechanism linking oil wealth to autocratic regime survival: the investigation tests whether increases in oil wealth improve the survival of autocracies by lowering the chances of democratization, reducing the risk of transition to subsequent dictatorship, or both. Using a new measure of autocratic durability shows that, once models allow for unit effects, oil wealth promotes autocratic survival by lowering the risk of ouster by rival autocratic groups. Evidence also indicates that oil income increases military spending in dictatorships, which suggests that increasing oil wealth may deter coups that could have caused a regime collapse.

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Pennsylvania State University; Bridgewater State University; UCLA (emails: josephgwright@gmail.com; ericaemilyfrantz@yahoo.com; and geddes@ucla.edu). The authors are grateful to Jørgen Andersen, Ben Bagozzi, Xun Cao, Matt Golder, James Honaker, Michael Ross, John Zaller, and Chris Zorn for helpful conversations, and thank one of the Editors and three anonymous reviewers for excellent feedback. Finally, they wish to thank Victor Menaldo for sharing data and replication code. This research has been supported by NSF-BCS #0904463 and NSF-BCS #0904478. Upon publication replication materials will be posted at Dataverse and on Joseph Wright's website. An On-line appendix A-E supplementary material is available at: http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1017/S0007123413000252.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Jørgen Juel Andersen Silje Aslaksen . 2013. Oil and Political Survival. Journal of Development Economics 100:89106.

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Barbara Geddes . 2003. Paradigms and Sand Castles. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Barbara Geddes , Joseph Wright Erica Frantz . 2014. Autocratic Breakdown and Regime Transitions: A New Data Set. Perspectives on Politics 12 (1): forthcoming.

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British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
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