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The Politics of Dictatorship: Institutions and Outcomes in Authoritarian Regimes

Erica Frantz and Natasha Ezrow
The Politics of Dictatorship: Institutions and Outcomes in Authoritarian Regimes
ISBN: 978-1-58826-785-6
2011/133 pages/LC: 2010038598

"This is a terrific book—one of only a very few that illuminate both domestic and international decisionmaking within autocratic regimes"—Barbara Geddes, University of California, Los Angeles

"A welcome addition to the literature.... Every chapter investigates both the qualitative and quantitative implications of dictatorial regime type. Frantz and Ezrow address some of the most vexing questions in international relations today."—Lisa Blaydes, Stanford University


In comparison to democratic political systems, we know very little about how dictatorships work. Who are the key political actors? Where does the locus of power rest? What determines leadership behavior—and survival?

Erica Frantz and Natasha Ezrow argue that dictatorships are not regimes driven by the whims of a single individual. Frantz and Ezrow reveal how leader-elite relations are strongly influenced by the nature of the political institutions in a regime, and in turn how those relations profoundly affect both domestic and foreign policy. Combining cross-national quantitative analyses with a selection of case studies, they uniquely explore the internal architecture of authoritarian government.


Erica Frantz is assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University. Natasha Ezrow is lecturer in the Department of Government at the University of Essex.


  • Authoritarian Politics in the Modern World.
  • Leadership.
  • Conflict Behavior.
  • The Quality of Military Intelligence.
  • Understanding Policy Changes.
  • The Consequences of Authoritarianism.
  • Appendixes.