In autocracies a “succession” takes place, when one autocrat replaces another. In practice, this happens in one of three ways: An autocrat may live out his term of office, or he may retire peacefully (e.g., voluntarily or when his term expires), or he may be forced out. Obviously some of these options are not exclusively at the discretion of the autocrat alone, and his future will depend on his foresight and his ability to protect himself, and among these are his ability to nominate his own successor or change the succession rules. Seen from the perspective of a potential contender for the role as autocrat, the choices are, in a way, more simple: He can do nothing and hope to become the autocrat himself some day or he can try to improve his own career prospects by forcing the autocrat out of office. Either way, the situation is one of strategic interaction and with institutions playing an important role.
KeywordsPublic Choice Expected Payoff Open Succession Social Dilemma Constitutional Rule
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