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Regular version of the site

Article

Political Security in Authoritarian Systems With a Resource Rent Economy: a Result of the “Social Contract” and High Resource Prices?

Przeglad Strategiczny. 2019. No. 12. P. 299-318.

Most researchers believe that states which are rich in natural resources are more able to maintain political stability in comparison to countries without such an access to exceptional profits. However, some rent resource autocracies are unanimously considered fragile, and their ability to extract maximum rents does not always contribute to political and economic security during price fluctuations. Based on the idea that the state’s ability to extract resources imposes on it certain obligations, the research question touches upon the quality of governance as a supposed core factor, which mediates the resource dependence and political security in terms of stateness and the ability to fulfil the “social contract.” The latter is described as implementation of political decisions, provision of public goods and services. However, the quality of governance is substantially different in various autocratic systems. Using case-study and descriptive statistics, the authors try to reveal the context and ascertain which factors trigger the horizon length of autocrats` political strategies during rising and falling resource prices. The authors affirm that resource dependence negatively affects political security less due to an absence of economic growth during price breaks, and more due to the struggle of political elites for the redistribution of resources, absence of disciplinary mechanisms, weak representation and accountability systems, and poor enabling environments as a basis for quality of resource management. The authors conclude that political security in autocratic resource economies is achieved through the coexistence of political will and triggers, conducive to specifying the length of the planning horizon.