In this chapter, I conclude the book with a summary of its findings, a discussion of several avenues for future research, and a set of policy suggestions. Through formal models and a case study on post-reform China, the book changes the way we used to understand the relationship between economic growth and the resilience of an authoritarian regime by showing that the effect of the former is actually not monotonic as previously assumed. Intuitively, economic prosperity strengthens the regime as it will raise the costs for people in the regime to deviate from the status quo and cope with their collective action problem to topple the regime. I contend that economic growth nonetheless has an opposite effect for upsetting the original balance of power among political elites. More critically, in addition to the finding about the (endogenously) destabilizing effect of authoritarian institutions, the book also helps us understand how they change. The findings have implications for both academics and policymakers who would like to assess the political effects of economic engagement with dictatorships.
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