A talk by Marina Pavlova (PhD Candidate, Hertie School).
An initiative of the Political Economy Cluster at the Hertie School as part of the Samples and Sandwiches Research Lunch.
The effects of economic development and economic downturns on democratization are central issues in political science. Yet, while there is active debate on whether economic shocks trigger democratization, the literature has paid much less attention to other possible political costs borne by autocrats, namely irregular leadership change within the same authoritarian regime and autocracy-to-autocracy transitions. In this paper, I study the empirical relationship between financial crises and political turnover in authoritarian regimes. I analyze 104 authoritarian countries from 1946 to 2011. I estimate a series of regressions that model the probability of irregular leadership change, autocracy-to-autocracy transitions, and democratization as a function of twin (banking and currency) or triplet (banking, currency, and debt) financial crises and other potential determinants of regime survival. I find no consistent effects of financial crises on irregular leadership change. I find robust evidence that twin and triplet crises have a significant direct positive impact on the probability of autocratic regime change, whereas for democratization, the effect goes through the economy. My findings suggest that financial crises may have political consequences in authoritarian regimes.
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