This research argues that in highly unequal societies, a rent-seeking and self-maximizing dictator may be supported by a fraction of the population, despite the absence of special benefits to these societal groups. Importantly, it is the stakes of the dictator in the economy, in the form of capital ownership, that drive the support of individuals. In highly unequal societies ruled by a capital-rich dictator endowed with the power to tax and appropriate at will, the elites will support dictatorial policies given that they can generate higher growth rates than the ones obtained under democracy. This support arises unconditionally to special benefits to the elites and despite the total absence of checks and balances on the dictator.
- Regime type
- Capital distribution