Jack Paine  •  Political Science  •  Emory University  •  jackpaine@emory.edu

Authoritarian Power Sharing


​​All dictators confront threats to their survival in office. One strategy to mitigate threats is to share power with challengers. For example, a ruler can offer positions in the cabinet or legislature to co-opt members of mass societal opposition organizations or of different ethnic groups. Sharing power enhances the ruler’s commitment to promises. However, by bringing challengers closer to the center of power and bolstering their coercive capability, sharing power creates a threat-enhancing effect. High-ranking elites can exercise their ability to stage a coup to remove the leader, rather than using this leverage as a latent threat to prevent the ruler from transgressing on promised spoils. The dual consequences of power sharing are foundational for understanding authoritarian politics and regime survival. I develop the theoretical mechanisms across several applied game theory articles, and I also provide evidence from post-colonial Africa and historical Europe. A longer overview of the project is available here.


Published

A Comment on Powell and Formal Models of Power Sharing
Forthcoming at Journal of Theoretical Politics

JOURNAL LINK   •   POWELL ARTICLE   •   MEMORIAM AT POLITICAL SCIENCE TODAY AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION


Authoritarian Power Sharing: Concepts, Mechanisms, and Strategies
(with Anne Meng and Robert PowellAnnual Review of Political Science, 2023, 26: 153–173. 

JOURNAL LINK   •   TWITTER


Stronger Challengers can Cause More (or Less) Conflict and Institutional Reform  
(with Andrew LittleComparative Political Studies, 57(3): 486–505.
JOURNAL LINK   •   TWITTER


A Theory of External Wars and European Parliaments
International Organization, 2023, 77(1): 102–143. (with Brenton Kenkel)
JOURNAL LINK   •   APPENDIX   •   SLIDES   •   TWITTER


Reframing the Guardianship Dilemma: How the Military’s Dual Disloyalty Options Imperil Dictators
American Political Science Review, 2022, 116(4): 1425–1442.    

JOURNAL LINK   •   APPENDIX    •   REPLICATION DATA    •   TWITTER

Power Sharing and Authoritarian Stability: How Rebel Regimes Solve the Guardianship Dilemma
(with Anne MengAmerican Political Science Review, 2022, 116(4): 1208–1225​.   

JOURNAL LINK   •   MAIN APPENDIX   •   CODING APPENDIX    •   REPLICATION DATA    •   SLIDES    •   TWITTER


Strategic Power Sharing: Commitment, Capability, and Authoritarian Survival
Journal of Politics, 2022, 84(2): 1226–1232.     

JOURNAL LINK    •   NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY    •   APPENDIX    •   TWITTER

The Dictator's Power-Sharing Dilemma: Countering Dual Outsider Threats​
American Journal of Political Science, 2021, 65(2): 510–527.     
JOURNAL LINK   •   APPENDIX   •  NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY

Ethnic Violence in Africa: Destructive Legacies of Pre-Colonial States
International Organization, 2019, 73(3): 645–683.     
JOURNAL LINK    •   APPENDIX    •   REPLICATION DATA    •   NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY

In progress


Formal Theory: Three Pillars of Authoritarian Power

(with Scott Tyson) Prepared for the Oxford Handbook of Authoritarian Politics, forthcoming 2024


​​Violent Origins and Authoritarian Order: Divergent Trajectories after Successful Rebellions 

(with Killian Clarke and Anne Meng)


The Threat-Enhancing Effect of Authoritarian Power Sharing 

(New draft available soon)