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Title: Nondemocratic Politics, Targeted Goods Provision, and International Policy: Water and Energy Management in Post-Soviet Central Asia
Authors: Hummel, Sarah Jane
Advisors: Beissinger, Mark
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: Authoritarian regimes
Central Asia
Water management
Subjects: Political Science
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: My dissertation examines the use of international policy as a means of targeted goods provision. I argue that uncertainty surrounding current and future regime supporters in nondemocratic countries creates an incentive for leaders to choose short-term or temporally flexible policies that target benefits at politically relevant subsets of the population. It is less effective to use policies that generate long-term benefits, since these cannot respond to exigent changes in the domestic political situation. I also argue that international cooperation can be used as a means of flexible goods provision, particularly when it involves nondemocracies that face similar domestic incentives for maintaining flexibility and are therefore willing to forgive violations of cooperative agreements. However, the relative worth of pursuing cooperation is not fixed; it evolves in response to domestic considerations. In particular, patterns of cooperation among such countries are explained by the relative importance of the subnational winners and losers from cooperation and the intensity of their support or opposition. I test the implications of this theory using the case of water and energy management in post-Soviet Central Asia. Using information gathered during eight months of field research in the region, I precisely establish the subnational winners and losers from international cooperation over this issue. I also identify four factors that affect the overall value of cooperation to each leader: relative water scarcity, the profitability of outside energy sales, patronage considerations and the political threat posed by subnational groups. To evaluate my hypotheses statistically, I use an original and comprehensive dataset of interactions on this issue between the Central Asian countries for the time period of 2000-2010. I find that changes in the factors that make cooperation relatively more attractive as a policy for targeted goods provision are associated with an increased likelihood of cooperation occurring and persisting. This suggests nondemocratic leaders can and do use international policy as a means of targeted goods provision. In general, the dissertation contributes to our understanding of both the internal and external dimensions of nondemocratic regimes, and provides practical insight into the important issue of water and energy management in Central Asia.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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