Nontaxation and Representation: The Fiscal Foundations of Political Stability

Economics in a Time of Political Instability
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The key estimates remain the same in the spending model, but civil protest lost its significance in the repression model. This could be rather due to the drop in the sample size. The F -test of the joint significance of the interaction terms rejects the null hypothesis that both terms are not jointly different from zero in the repression model.

This, however, does not change our main conclusion that oil wealth does not drive the dictator to employ less repression, given the oil wealth variable is statistically insignificant. Despite the fact that oil wealth enters the model 1 year before the start date of mass erupts, there might be still some concern regarding the full erogeneity of this measure, since production might be affected by mass erupts as well expectations for mass erupts. To address this, total oil reserves log , as proxy for time-fixed measure of oil abundance, is used instead.

This variable enters the empirical specification with 3 years lags to account for the possibility that having higher reserves do not automatically imply the ability to extract and produce oil, since the latter is also function of the degree of economic development, geography and trade relations.

I also consider using 2, 4 and 5-years lags. The main results remain robust in all specifications in Table 6. In Table 7 , two additional alternative measures for oil wealth are used. One is the oil revenues per capita taken from Ross and Mahdavi Such measure avoids the endogeneity of oil production, by making use of the relative exogeneity of oil prices.

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The main results remain unchanged. Additional robustness checks are reported in Table 8. First, the measure for government spending in current prices used in our baseline specification is replaced by its counterpart measure as a percentage of GDP. One advantage of this measure is that it includes an indirect measure of the economic size of the country instead of controlling for it separately in the model using real GDP per capita.

Therefore, GDP per capita is dropped. The downside, however, is that it could make it difficult to remove business cycles effects given that we are look at year-to-year effects. In other word, it may be hard to decide whether the estimated result is due a change in public spending numerator or in GDP denominator. In column 1, the estimated coefficient for mass violence is positive, but statistically insignificant, whereas the coefficient for civil protest is positive and statistically significant.

This could be due to the balancing forces between simultaneous changes in public spending and their base GDP. Recall, civil protest has no significant impact on public spending as shown in our main model, whereas it can have negative effects on the GDP. Hence, reducing the GDP could increase the share of public spending to GDP in face of civil protest, but not the absolute size of public spending.

The results in column 2 for the repression model remain the same. The PTS ranges from 1 to 5, with high values indicating high levels of terror. Results remain robust to this specification. In line with Wintrobe and Annett , the short run responses to political threats are either spending or repression. The empirical results predict a rather simultaneous increase in both spending and repression in face of mass violence, and that repression is preferred over spending in case of mass protests. As such, instead of engaging in spending or repression in mutually exclusive fashion as indicated in previous studies, the novelty of the results here lies in revealing a third possibility of mixing between both depending on the intensity of the threat.

Furthermore, repression is found to crowd out the financial resources available to support public spending, whereas public spending does not seem to reduce the level of repression employed. In other words, repression can act as a substitute for spending, but spending cannot substitute repression. Hence, under the same circumstances, they will always follow the same dictatorial strategies independent of the size of their oil wealth.

As the results show, the size of oil wealth may have a relative impact on increasing spending, but only at low and intermediate levels of threats, but as the threats intensify, the effect of oil wealth dissipates and oil dictatorships behave the same as their non-oil counterparts. Additionally, oil wealth showed no impact on repression, whether independent or conditional on threats.

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The gives a rise to an important conclusion that even if oil wealth might have the potential to alter the distributive and repressive capacities of dictatorships, there is still no strong evidence to believe that such endowments can make countries less repressive or drives them to substitute spending for force when faced by severe power challenges. By differentiating between the intensities of mass threats, the corresponding responses are extended to include not only exclusive resorting to repression or spending, but also a mix between both.

Furthermore, the size of financial resources can allow for differences in the levels of employed repression and spending in face of the same threat. In this regard, it was shown oil dictators differ in the levels of the employed spending and repression at very low and intermediate levels of threats. These results are quite useful in understanding the dictatorial behavior in different settings and offers further explanation for the duration of authoritarian regimes, especially in oil dependent countries.

Furthermore, instead of identifying the strategies for political survival, equally important is the understanding of the circumstances under which dictators can choose their responding mechanism. For instance, financial constraints can reduce the ability of the leader to sustain both spending and repression in the long run, a situation that could drive him to crackdown on freedoms or offer political concessions to contain future threats.

A point of departure would be through looking at the institutional setting and the composition of opposition groups in these states. Although I made no argument about the extent of the organization of political opposition, it is worthy to study that.

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As pointed by Smith , oil dictatorships might have developed non-repressive mechanisms that allow them to stay in power. Finally, the typology of oil dictatorships based on the size of their rents and population can be incorporated in other studies such as foreign aid.

The benchmark should not be the degree on dependence on the source of income, but the capacity to distribute on the population. More research is needed to explore whether the same results can be reached with other types of rents mainly minerals and foreign aid. For comments, I thank Toke S. Acemoglu, D. Why did the west extend the franchise? Quarterly Journal of Economics , , — A theory of military dictatorships.

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Leader survival, revolutions, and the nature of government Finance.

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Variable benefits payments from a defined contribution Registered Pension Plan are also eligible only for individuals who are age 65 or over. Other recipients of U. This measure allows small businesses to retain more of their earnings to reinvest and create jobs Budget The World Bank expects annual oil production in Russia to fall from A high-quality revenue system minimizes its involvement in spending decisions and makes any such involvement explicit.

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