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This accessible volume shines a light on how autocracy really works by providing basic facts about how post-World War II dictatorships achieve, retain, and lose power. The authors present an evidence-based portrait of key features of the authoritarian landscape with newly collected data about 200 dictatorial regimes. They examine the central political processes that shape the policy choices of dictatorships and how they compel reaction from policy makers in the rest of the world. Importantly, this book explains how some dictators concentrate great power in their own hands at the expense of other members of the dictatorial elite. Dictators who can monopolize decision making in their countries cause much of the erratic, warlike behavior that disturbs the rest of the world. By providing a picture of the central processes common to dictatorships, this book puts the experience of specific countries in perspective, leading to an informed understanding of events and the likely outcome of foreign responses to autocracies.
Sheds light on central aspects of how authoritarian politics works in practice
Leverages newly collected data about politics within 200 dictatorial regimes to generate an evidence-based portrait of key features of the authoritarian landscape
Examines the central political processes that shape the policy choices of dictatorships and how they compel reaction from policy makers in the rest of the world
Table of Contents
Part I. Initiation:
2. Autocratic seizures of power
3. What do we know about coups?
Part II. Elite Consolidation:
4. Power concentration: the effect of elite factionalism on personalization
5. Dictatorial survival strategies in challenging conditions: factionalized armed supporters and party creation
Part III. Ruling Society: Implementation and Information Gathering:
6. Why parties and elections in dictatorships?
7. Double-edged swords: specialized institutions for monitoring and coercion
Part IV. Dictatorial Survival and Breakdown:
8. Why dictatorships fall
9. Conclusion and policy implications.