Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Differentiated Distribution for Authoritarian Stability in Ethnically-divided Countries
by Doherty, Jennifer Catherine, Ph.D., The George Washington University, 2019, 283; 13899133
Abstract (Summary)

New African authoritarian regimes have emerged and maintained power for long periods since the promise of democratization in the early 1990s. A single ethnic group holds the most powerful positions in many of these governments, yet they endure despite excluding large ethnic groups and introducing elections. In this dissertation, I ask: how do single ethnicity authoritarian governments distribute resources strategically in order to maintain public support in ethnically-divided contexts?

To answer this question, I advance a novel theory of differentiated distribution. This co-optation strategy maximizes support while minimizing risks by exploiting the specific properties of different types of goods. I predict that regimes target durable public goods that provide long-term capacity to coethnics and allies that they trust. In contrast, they buy the support of adversarial and non-salient groups with non-durable private transfers that can be swiftly stopped. I also predict that recipients understand the different properties of these goods and respond to receipt accordingly.

I find support for my theory using original survey data from over 400 households and over 70 interviews with government and non-government actors in Uganda. Counter to conventional assumptions about coethnic favoritism by African presidents, however, I find that allies receive most public goods and adversaries receive most private goods. It is therefore important to avoid binary distinctions between coethnics and non-coethnics of a regime and instead to explore heterogeneity between non-coethnic groups. My findings also have implications for development and stability—while these regimes share resources beyond their own group, long-term restriction of durable goods from some groups may create inequality and resentment.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hale, Henry E.
Commitee: Kramon, Eric, Miller, Michael K.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Political Science
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Political science
Keywords: African politics, Authoritarianism, Comparative politics, Development, Ethnicity, Political economy
Publication Number: 13899133
ISBN: 9781085651585
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