We consider a resource-dependent economy initially ruled by the elite. The transition from the autocratic to a more democratic regime takes place only if the citizens decide to revolt against the elite. The occurrence of a revolution primarily depends on the autocratic regime vulnerability and the level of inequalities, both being driven by the elite’s redistribution and repression policies. First, we show that when a political transition is inevitable, the elite choose the maximum rate of redistribution to lengthen their period in office. Second, we find that the duration of the autocratic regime is linked to resource abundance, and how it relates to the elite’s policies. More resources lead to a shorter reign of a redistributive regime, which may not be the case of a repressive regime. Finally, we interpret the Arab spring sequence in light of our findings. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
On the timing of political regime changes in resource-dependent economies
20 November 2019