Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Spending to Survive: The Politics of Economic DIversification in Oil-Dependent Autocracies
Authors: van den Bosch, Marie A.
Advisors: Boix, Carles
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: Autocracies
Economic diversification
Public investment
Regime survival
Subjects: Political science
Middle Eastern studies
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: What determines whether leaders in oil-dependent autocracies will invest in economic diversification? The existing literature finds that oil-dependent regimes tend to block diversification from happening. However, various autocracies around the globe have repeatedly attempted–and mostly failed–to diversify their economy through massive investment programs. This dissertation proposes and empirically tests a new theory of regime survival and strategic resource allocation to explain the observed variation in diversification strategies. The theory argues that incumbents use diversification programs as yet another tool for regime survival geared towards Politically Influential (PI) groups that lie outside the decision-making circle, yet have sufficient political influence to credibly threaten the incumbent's hold on power. It proposes that, in addition to the findings of the existing literature, two additional scenarios are taking place: (1) diversification programs can bring political benefits while creating economic costs–as a rent-distribution mechanism; (2) they can also simultaneously generate political and economic benefits–as a rent-generation mechanism. Based on an original dataset of public investments in diversification programs and PI groups in twenty-five oil-dependent autocracies over forty-six years, the empirical analysis shows that the size of PI groups and the generational composition of the incumbent's PI group of origin influence (1) the incumbent's incentive to invest in diversification programs, and (2) the extent to which those investments will become profitable. Through the combination of large-N analysis and in-depth case studies, this dissertation finds that those programs are used as a way for incumbents to diversify their survival politics, through the implementation of both productive and unproductive programs tailored to the needs and interests of specific PI groups. By analyzing political drivers of diversification strategies, this dissertation uncovers a powerful mechanism by which oil can affect the political stability of rentier regimes through spending patterns. It contributes to the growing literature on the conditional effects of natural resources on both economic and political outcomes.
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

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
vandenBosch_princeton_0181D_12531.pdf10.68 MBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.