Seminario CEDE - José Morales-Arilla
Do autocrats favor their supporters during economic shocks? I introduce a model of redistribution and regime stability that shows how in-group favors can be a strategic response to economic downturns. The model predicts that, as economic shocks worsen, autocrats may favor their supporters and confront opposition protests to save on appeasement costs. I test the model's main results in two empirical settings. First, I focus on the Venezuelan blackouts of 2019. Consistent with the model, the Maduro regime was more likely to exempt regime-supporting regions affected by the blackout from later power rationing. Moreover, blackout-induced protests were limited to opposition-leaning regions. I then focus on negative rainfall shocks in Sub-Saharan Africa. Droughts magnify differences in development, protests and state-coercion outcomes in favor of leaders' home regions.