Authoritarian Institutions and the Survival of Autocrats
Why do some autocrats survive for decades, and others fall soon after taking power? The authors argue that when authoritarian rulers need to solicit the cooperation of outsiders or deter the threat of rebellion, they rely on political institutions. Partisan legislatures incorporate potential opposition forces, giving them a stake in the ruler's survival. By broadening the basis of support for autocrats, these institutions lengthen their tenures. An analysis of all authoritarian rulers in power during the 1946-1996 period provides evidence of the effect of nominally democratic institutions on their political survival.