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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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