Economic Crises and the Breakdown of Authoritarian Regimes: by Thomas B. Pepinsky

By Thomas B. Pepinsky

Why perform a little authoritarian regimes topple in the course of monetary crises, whereas others steer via monetary crises rather unscathed? during this ebook, Thomas B. Pepinsky makes use of the reports of Indonesia and Malaysia and the analytical instruments of open economic climate macroeconomics to reply to this question. targeting the commercial pursuits of authoritarian regimes' supporters, Pepinsky indicates that transformations in cross-border asset specificity produce dramatically diverse results in regimes dealing with monetary crises. whilst asset specificity divides supporters, as in Indonesia, they wish jointly incompatible adjustment rules, yielding incoherent adjustment coverage via regime cave in. whilst coalitions should not divided by way of asset specificity, as in Malaysia, regimes undertake radical adjustment measures that permit them to outlive monetary crises. Combining wealthy qualitative facts from Southeast Asia with cross-national time-series info and comparative case experiences of Latin American autocracies, Pepinsky finds the facility of coalitions and capital mobility to give an explanation for how monetary crises produce regime swap.

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Sample text

In Russia (not listed in the table), twin crises during 1998 led to a 5 percent contraction in GDP in a country that already faced chronically weak growth. In Mexico, twin crises led to a 1 percent GDP contraction in 1982 followed by a 3 percent GDP contraction in 1983, and twin crises in the mid-1990s led to a 6 percent contraction in GDP. Jordan’s economy contracted 13 percent during twin crises in 1989. In 1998, during Southeast Asia’s twin crises, Malaysia’s economy contracted by nearly 8 percent, while Indonesia’s economy contracted by almost 14 percent.

In Malaysia, where the regime survived the crisis, many interested parties remain close to those in power and are reluctant to discuss their actions during the crisis. Moreover, in Malaysia, freedom of the press remains circumscribed, and many laws discourage open criticism of the regime. On several occasions in each country, I faced interviewees who openly lied about their actions during the crisis. For these reasons, my use of interview data is judicious: I corroborate all statements with other sources or other interviewees.

The role of ideology here is marginal: ideology is a means to an end. Ideology largely reflects the preferences of the regime’s supporters and cements coalitions that have emerged. 4 That said, ideological positions constrain the general goals of policy decisions rather than the policy decisions themselves. A regime may announce that particular policies once viewed as unlikely to protect its supporters are now needed to fulfill that same goal. One example may be exchange rate management. Whereas at one time the regime may claim that a floating exchange rate best protects the interests of the masses, it may later claim that a fixed exchange rate best protects their interests.

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