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Alternation through Death: Is Gerontocracy an Equilibrium?

By Raul Magni Berton and Sophie Panel

Abstract

International audienceAccording to minimalist theories of democracy, the reason why civil conflicts are less frequent in democracies is that opposition parties can reasonably expect to win the next elections: they then prefer to wait than to rebel. In dictatorships, waiting until the dictator dies is generally much costlier. This waiting time, however, is considerably shortened when the dictator is old. Therefore, the risk of domestic conflict should decrease along with the age of autocratic leaders. Based on 160 countries from 1960 to 2008, our empirical analysis shows that the leader’s age decreases the likelihood of violent rebellion in dictatorships, but not in democratic regimes

Topics: political leaders, dictatorship, intrastate conflict, democracy, [SHS.SCIPO]Humanities and Social Sciences/Political science, [SHS.SOCIO]Humanities and Social Sciences/Sociology
Publisher: 'SAGE Publications'
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.1177/1065912918775251
OAI identifier: oai:HAL:halshs-02892057v1
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