We aim to describe, understand and explain policy-making in dictatorships, and which factors contribute to generate differences in policy-making across different such regimes. To properly study the origins and effects of different policy choices, we consider how the selection and implementation of policies depend on the type of institutions in the dictatorship (e.g., regime parties, security agencies, and elections) as well as what groups support and oppose the regime. We also aim to study how different policies may influence regime stability and change in dictatorships.
Focusing on very detailed measures of policies, we will study three areas of policy-making: 1) policies and strategies of repression; 2) security policies, including nuclear policy, and interstate war; 3) economic policies (e.g., in the areas of construction, higher education, and labor market regulation and social policies). These are all policies that regimes may use to coopt different threats.
We zoom in on specific contents of these policies, as pursued in different dictatorships. Even fairly similar policies may have very different distributional- and other consequences, and modelling detailed differences in policies is thus important. In order to enable such studies, we will collect several new datasets, mostly with global coverage and long time series. Specifically, the new datasets will cover large-scale building projects, nuclear arms treaties, labor market regulation and various social policy programs, characteristics of universities, and the educational background of political leaders. These data will give unprecedented opportunities for studying why and how different dictatorships select different policies, and, in turn, which consequences these policies have, for instance, for regime survival.
PoD will deliver new theoretical insights and empirical knowledge on the origins of policy-making, and the effects of such policies on regime stability and change, in dictatorships. Specifically, it covers three areas: 1. policies and strategies for repressing domestic actors; 2. security policies and decisions on interstate war and peace; 3. cooptation policies in the areas of construction, higher education, and labor market regulation and social policies.
To study the origins and effects of different policy choices, we will theorize and empirically model how they depend on both autocratic institutions of different kinds plus characteristics of regime support groups and opposition actors. We will also consider how policy choices are selected with an aim to enhance regime survival or other goals of dictators, under different constraints, and study how these policies, in turn, influence actual prospects of regime survival.
PoD will zoom in on specific contents of policies pursued in dictatorships. Rather than theorizing and studying proxies (or even outcomes) of policies, we will analyze more detailed policy features in the abovementioned areas. Even fairly similar policies may have different distributional- and other consequences, and modelling policy differences in detail is thus important. In order to study these features empirically, PoD will collect five new datasets that will mostly comprise variables with global coverage and long time series. Specifically, the five new datasets will cover features of capitals across the world, nuclear arms treaties, labor market regulation and various social policy programs, the educational, occupational and social background of political leaders, as well as a comprehensive literature database on the last two decades of studies on the policy effects of democracy and dictatorship. These data will give unprecedented opportunities for testing our precise hypotheses on policy making and regime change in dictatorships.