„Autokratische Redistribution – Institutionen, Legitimation und die Umverteilung von Einkommen in Nicht-Demokratien“

Translated title of the contribution: “Autocratic redistribution—institutions, legitimization and the redistribution of income in non-democracies”

Lars Pelke, Aurel Croissant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The purpose of this article is to test if institutional approaches and legitimation-oriented explanations in comparative authoritarianism research can account for the differences in redistribution of income in autocracies. In order to address this question, the study analyses data on income redistribution for 122 autocracies worldwide between 1960 and 2010. The existing literature suggests that authoritarian institutions and strategies of regime legitimation affect policy outputs in autocracies. This article develops an informal model that explains income redistribution as the outcome of bargaining between the dictator, political elites and the masses over the level of income taxation and social welfare expenditures. The findings of our statistical analysis suggest that there are substantial differences between income redistribution between different types of authoritarian regimes and their strategies of regime legitimation: Communist regimes exhibit the highest average income redistribution while monarchies have the lowest redistribution rate. However, legitimation strategies of different types of autocracy cannot account for the differences in social welfare expenditures in authoritarian regimes. In contrast, authoritarian political institutions explain different levels of social welfare expenditure in autocracies, but cannot account for the differences in income redistribution. Overall, institutional and legitimation-centred approaches contribute to a better understanding of differences in income redistribution between autocracies, but their explanatory power is limited. Therefore, the article concludes with some considerations concerning avenues for future research.

Translated title of the contribution“Autocratic redistribution—institutions, legitimization and the redistribution of income in non-democracies”
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)509-538
Number of pages30
JournalZeitschrift fur Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature.


  • Authoritarian institutions
  • Autocratic regimes
  • Income redistribution
  • Regime legitimation
  • Social welfare expenditure


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