Reconsidering the Rubber Stamp Thesis: A Consolidation Theory of Oil Expropriations and Legislatures in Party-based Autocracies

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Abstract

Growing conventional wisdom suggests that authoritarian legislatures prevent oil nationalizations in party-based regimes. However, country scholars and media outlets remain skeptical. We develop a theory aligning with the skeptics. We argue that oil expropriations and legislative closures are endogenous to the process of the consolidation of party-based autocracies. New authoritarian parties close legislatures when they seize power and do not reopen them until they can ensure their dominance of the new legislature, a process abetted by oil expropriations. We test the argument using recently developed cross-case comparative Bayesian qualitative techniques. Evidence shows support for our theory. Our findings suggest that authoritarian legislatures are less constraining in terms of oil nationalizations than new conventional wisdom suggests. Additionally, our evidence points to a different interpretation of the role legislatures play in the evolution of authoritarian regimes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-270
Number of pages22
JournalStudies in Comparative International Development
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • Authoritarian regimes
  • Legislatures
  • Oil nationalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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