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Article

Executive Constraints and Economic Growth in Autocracies

Authoritarian regimes differ by the degree to which the leader is constrained in his ability to influence the decision-making process. It has been argued that unlimited executive can either lead to adverse economic policy outcomes or improve economic performance. In this work, I reassess the effect of executive constraints on economic performance. While most of the previous research in this area focuses on regime typologies, I use observable indicators of power personalisation in 90 autocratic countries from 1960-2010 and estimate their effect on economic performance. I focus on power concentration, the extent of the decision-making power of chief executives and leaders’ ability to dismiss the elites form political institutions as the indicators for measuring leaders’ ability to influence the decision-making process. I discover that countries, where leaders are able to stay in office longer and are able to change the cabinet, concentrate more power in their hands and tend to be more opportunistic. The results imply that strong leaders establish such power-sharing mode that allows them to act in a self-interest way.