SIS 700 CRS Notes: 25 October
By Eddy
Steven Haber – Authoritarian Government
Haber's purpose in his article is to develop a theory of authoritarianism. Most studies of authoritarianism are rooted in either sociology or economics (rational choice). Haber attempts to unify these in someway, although he approaches the problem from an economics perspective.
Part 1 – Organizational Theory of Dictatorships
Dictators are insecure because they face the threat of being overthrown by the same “launching group” that put them in power in the first place.
They have 2 options how to deal with this: 1) Do the bidding of the group
1. Attempt to curb their power
Because of this the early years of dictatorships are generally turbulent.
Part 2- Why so few stationary bandits?

Although some dictators respect property rights, most do not.
Part 3- Logic of terror
The simplest way for the dictator to curb the launching organization's power is through terror.
ie. Stain murdered 1.5-2.5 million communist party officials/Red Army officers in the 1930s
but these tactics are not often used because
1) The stakes are high (if you fail you're screwed!)
2) It requires you establish a special terror organization, which can in turn become a threat.
3) It can undermine the government's functionality
The implications of this for property rights is that a successful dictator can expropriate enterprises.
However, 3 types of enterprises can can largely escape these expropriations:
1) Hidden enterprises (black market)
2) Human capital exclusive enterprises (skilled professions)
3) High-tech natural resource exploiting
Because of the expropriations in most other sectors, however, the country will not experience strong economic growth.
Part 4 – The Logic of Co-operation
The most common way to curb the power of the launching group is to co-opt their leadership by buying them off through rent sharing.
Rent sharing has three players:
The Dictator, the launching organization's leaders and the private investors.
This arrangement can provide good short/medium term growth, but will fail in the long-term.
Conclusion -
Haber argues that his theory challenges the resource curse theory. Resource curse sees natural resource abundance as causing authoritarian governments, but in this model, authoritarian governments lead to investors clustering in natural resource extraction because this sector is less likely to suffer from expropriations.