Exit during crisis: How openness, migration, and economic crisis affect democratization

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Does economic crisis lead to authoritarian regime breakdown and democratization? In this paper, I argue that the availability of exit options for citizens conditions the relationship between economic crisis and democratization. Where citizens have more viable exit alternatives, economic crisis causes citizens to exit rather than protest, making democratization less likely. I measure exit options in three ways: a geographic instrument for bilateral trade; neighboring country GDP per capita; and past net migration. I use time series, cross-section data on up to 122 authoritarian regimes in 114 countries from 1946-2002 to test this argument and find evidence consistent with the hypothesis that more attractive exit options insulate dictators from the liberalizing effects of economic crisis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-75
Number of pages75
JournalWorking Paper of the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies
Issue number367
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development


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