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Autocratic Rule and Dynamic De/Centralisation

Comparative Politics
Federalism
Institutions
Paolo Dardanelli
University of Kent
Paolo Dardanelli
University of Kent

Abstract

The paper develops a conceptual and theoretical framework for analysing the impact of autocratic rule on dynamic de/centralisation in federations. It is part of Phase 2 of the project Why Centralisation and Decentralisation in Federations?, which measures dynamic de/centralisation in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan since their foundation. The division of powers and resources between the central government and constituent governments is crucial to the way federal systems operate but has not been systematically investigated across all federations. This project seeks to do so. As the federations analysed in Phase 2 have all experienced periods of autocratic rule, the impact the latter has on dynamic de/centralisation is an essential aspect to address in understanding their overall trajectory. The paper first briefly reviews the literature and summarises the current state of knowledge regarding the impact of autocratic rule on dynamic de/centralisation. Building on work conducted in Phase 1 of the project, the paper than conceptualises static and dynamic de/centralisation in federations that have experienced autocratic rule, focussing in particular on the institutional dimension of de/centralisation. In a third step, the paper then develops a theoretical framework that seeks to identify the incentives and constraints autocratic rulers face in relation to de/centralisation and the likely effect of different types of autocracy. The concluding section derives a set of hypotheses for testing and outlines the methodological approach we have adopted for doing so