Governance and the dimensions of autocracy

  • Ryan H. MurphyEmail author
Original Paper


Recent work at the frontiers of classical liberal political economy has reconsidered the idea that certain autocratic political institutions may improve on the consensus liberal, constitutional democratic political institutions. This paper will discuss conceptually how these new arguments, predatory forms of autocracy, the status quo of constitutional democracy, and the proponents of more majoritarian forms of democratic governance should be understood in terms of one another. It will then perform a simple empirical examination of the modern world, looking at the quality of governance by country by the quality of its democracy, conditional on a country’s economic output, education, and culture. Examples of autocracy with good governance, even when conditioning on these other variables, are sufficiently rare to raise serious questions for the new classical liberal proponents of autocracy.


Democracy Autocracy Governance Executive constraint 

JEL Classification

O43 D72 P50 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom, SMU Cox School of BusinessSouthern Methodist UniversityDallasUSA

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