A Key Point Of Debate Within The Literature On Non Democratic Regimes

1409 Words Nov 18th, 2016 6 Pages
A key point of debate within the literature on non-democratic regimes is the role that institutions play in their functioning. The approach taken by Svolik, which I will refer to as the coercive power approach due to its focus on violence, holds that institutions are most often ineffective in dictatorships because there is no neutral third party to enforce their rules. The most significant institutions in dictatorships are those which minimize information and commitment problems between the dictator and his inner circle. The institutions involved in exercising control over the subject population, such as propaganda and elections, arise exogenously out of the dictator’s preferences and are of secondary importance. Contrasting with the coercive power approach is that taken by Slater, which views the dictator’s institutional power as the result of a strong coalition among elites in economic, political, and communal spheres. The actions of dictators are limited by the extent to which their state is in possession of institutional power independent of economic and communal spheres of socciety. I argue that this approach, which I will call the state resources approach, offers a more realistic account of institutions and richer insights into the working of non-democracies because it 1) does not artificially separate the institutions of non-democratic rule over the subject population from those governing the relationship between the dictator and his inner circle and 2) does consider…

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