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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: May 2019

5 - Agricultural Rents, Landholding Inequality, and Authoritarian Regime Durability


In this chaper, I examine the relationship between landholding inequality, interventions in agricultural markets, and the stability of authoritarian regimes. I construct measures of the size of rents that are generated by agricultural market distortions. I show that both forms of agricultural rents are much smaller than those originating from oil revenues. I then go on to estimate a series of models of authoritarian regime durability. I test whether landed elites are threatening to authoritarian regimes, and concentrations of landholdings are associated with a greater risk of regime collapse. I find a weak positive relationship between landholding inequality and the likelihood of collapse. I look at the relationship between agricultural rents and regime durability. I find that rents that accrue to the state have no effect on the probability of regime collapse. Rents accruing to agricultural producers, however, do have a significant interactive effect on regime stability. Where landholding inequality is high, regimes that distribute greater rents to the agricultural sector are significantly less likely to break down.

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