Modern Authoritarianism and Corruption

558
DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-1-108-120

Yu. Nisnevich (nisjulius@gmail.com), 
National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20, Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow 101000, Russian Federation 

Abstract. This paper focuses on the link between the modern authoritarianism and corruption. Even though corruption plays an important role in Communist regimes, post-colonial dictatorships and authoritarian monarchies, coercion, which is a traditional tool used by authoritarian rulers, remains the basis of these regimes. However, a new type of non-democratic regimes, which we call neo-authoritarian, has emerged since the last quarter of the 20th century. The new regimes are based on a dynamic interplay between coercion and corruption. That interplay allows authoritarian rulers to bring either coercion or corruption to the forefront, depending on the current political situation in the country as well as political, economic and social issues on the political agenda. In this type of regimes, ruling political-economic groups capture the state and the public authority in the country, use all their instruments and resources to achieve their private goals. This paper presents empirical results showing that the Communist regimes, dictatorships and authoritarian monarchies exist in 33 modern non-democratic states, while neo-authoritarian regimes can be found in 19 states. The author shows that high levels of corruption are typical of all of these regimes, especially of dictatorships and neo-authoritarian ones. A relatively lower level of corruption in authoritarian monarchies is explained using Olson’s theory of stationary bandit. In particular, the author speculates that the ruling monarchs fight corruption among bureaucrats since they perceive it as stealing their own property that damages the sources of their administrative rent and revenues. At the same time, a high-level political corruption persists. Finally, it is demonstrated that dictatorships are on average more fragile than economically elastic neo-authoritarian regimes, although it might be challenging to differentiate between them. All authoritarian and neo-authoritarian regimes, except for a few monarchies, are non-stable regimes, allowing to hypothesize their coming transformations or collapse.

Keywords: authoritarianism, corruption, coercion, neo-authoritarian regime, fragile state 


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For citation:
Nisnevich Y. Modern Authoritarianism and Corruption. World Eсonomy and International Relations, 2017, vol. 61, no. 1, pp. 108-120. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-1-108-120



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