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Regional Autocratic Linkages and Regime Survival

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Alexander Schmotz, Oisin Tansey

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)662-686
Issue number3
Early online date15 Sep 2017
Accepted/In press1 Aug 2017
E-pub ahead of print15 Sep 2017
PublishedAug 2018


King's Authors


In this article, the effects of regional autocratic linkage on the survival of autocratic regimes are analysed. Scholars have suggested that regional factors shape regime survival through processes of diffusion. However, in most accounts, diffusion is simply derived from characteristics of the region, such as the number or proportion of regional autocracies. In contrast, it is argued here that it is the actual linkages between countries that must be examined. Regional political, economic and social ties between autocratic regimes create domestic and external stakes in the regime, counterweigh democratisation pressure and facilitate autocratic learning. The study employs the average volume of trade, migration and diplomatic exchanges between autocratic regimes within a region as proxies for regional autocratic linkage, and asserts that regional autocratic linkage is on the rise. Applying Cox survival models on a dataset of regional autocratic linkage and regime survival between 1946 and 2009, it is found that regional autocratic linkage significantly reduces the likelihood of autocratic regime breakdown. These effects hold when the proportion of autocratic regimes within a region is controlled for, suggesting that one must look beyond the characteristics of the countries within a region and focus on the ties and linkages between them.

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