Have autocrats governed for the long term?

Fabio Monteforte (University of Messina)
Jonathan Temple (independent, UK)
Emanuele Millemaci (University of Messina)


The short answer is no. Using cross-country data, we construct a statistical proxy for
the extent of long-term orientation, to infer the priorities of national governments and
leaders. Using informal evidence and statistical tests, we show that its distribution under
democracy first-order stochastically dominates its distribution under autocracy. This
suggests that variation in long-term orientation is not a good candidate to explain the
‘autocratic gamble’ – the well-known tendency for growth rates to vary more widely across
autocracies than across democracies. On the other hand, we do find supporting evidence of the causal relationship between long-term orientation and the level of investments. The true sources of the autocratic gamble remain an interesting conundrum.

Download the file

©2023 Italian Society of Law and Economics. All rights reserved.