Norwegian version of this page

Policies of Dictatorships (PoD)

Image may contain: Butterfly, Pollinator, Window, Insect, Arthropod.

How are policy choices selected with an aim to enhance regime survival or other goals of dictators? Image: Kristel Hayes/Unsplash

About the project

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:

  • policies and strategies for repressing domestic actors;
  • security policies and decisions on interstate war and peace;
  • 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. Yet, we will also conduct more focused data collection on specific dictatorships such as China. Specifically, the five new datasets will cover features of particular large-scale building projects, nuclear arms treaties, labor market regulation and various social policy programs, curricula and other characteristics of universities, and the educational background of political leaders. These data will give unprecedented opportunities for testing our precise hypotheses on policy making and regime change in dictatorships.


The Norwegian Research Council FRIHUMSAM


Published Jan. 14, 2021 2:09 PM - Last modified Aug. 9, 2022 2:39 PM