When patronage is not enough

How do autocrats hold onto power? Evidence from Kenya, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe

In each of these cases, an established single- or dominant-party regime faced heightened international pressure, economic crisis, and a strong opposition challenge after 1990. Yet whereas ruling parties in Kenya and Zambia were organized almost exclusively around patronage, those in Mozambique and Zimbabwe were liberation parties that came to power via violent struggle. This difference is critical to explaining diverging post-Cold War regime outcomes: whereas ruling parties in Zambia and Kenya imploded and eventually lost power in these face of crises, those in Mozambique and Zimbabwe remained intact and regimes survived.

…while elite access to power and spoils may ensure elite cooperation during normal times, it often fails to do so during crises. Instead, the identities, norms, and organizational structures forged during periods of sustained, violent, and ideologically-driven conflict are a critical source of cohesion—and durability—in party-based authoritarian regimes.

A new paper from Levitsky and Way. Older ungated copy.

To govern, material rewards are not enough. Non-material bonds–especially cohesion forged in violence and struggle. Interesting addition to the idea that string states are forged in violence and struggle.