Authoritarian institutions and the survival of autocrats

Jennifer Gandhi, Adam Przeworski

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    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.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1279-1301
    Number of pages23
    JournalComparative Political Studies
    Issue number11
    StatePublished - Nov 2007


    • Authoritarianism
    • Autocracy
    • Dictatorship
    • Leaders
    • Survival

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science


    Dive into the research topics of 'Authoritarian institutions and the survival of autocrats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this