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The Autocratic Middle Class

How State Dependency Reduces the Demand for Democracy

Bryn Rosenfeld

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Sozialwissenschaften, Recht, Wirtschaft / Politikwissenschaft


How middle-class economic dependence on the state impedes democratization and contributes to authoritarian resilience

Conventional wisdom holds that the rising middle classes are a force for democracy. Yet in post-Soviet countries like Russia, where the middle class has grown rapidly, authoritarianism is deepening. Challenging a basic tenet of democratization theory, Bryn Rosenfeld shows how the middle classes can actually be a source of support for autocracy and authoritarian resilience, and reveals why development and economic growth do not necessarily lead to greater democracy.

In pursuit of development, authoritarian states often employ large swaths of the middle class in state administration, the government budget sector, and state enterprises. Drawing on attitudinal surveys, unique data on protest behavior, and extensive fieldwork in the post-Soviet region, Rosenfeld documents how the failure of the middle class to gain economic autonomy from the state stymies support for political change, and how state economic engagement reduces middle-class demands for democracy and weakens prodemocratic coalitions.

The Autocratic Middle Class makes a vital contribution to the study of democratization, showing how dependence on the state weakens the incentives of key societal actors to prefer and pursue democracy.

Weitere Titel von diesem Autor



Social mobility, Social capital, Commodity, Clientelism, Bourgeoisie, Liberal democracy, State (polity), Minority rights, Autocracy, Working class, State capitalism, Class analysis, Ideology, Rule of law, Politician, Bureaucracy, Case study, State ownership, Political spectrum, State-owned enterprise, Mass mobilization, Profession, Statistical significance, Capitalism, World Bank, Majority, Middle class, Market economy, Election, Economic restructuring, Salary, Distrust, National security, International studies, Authoritarianism, Unemployment, Bureaucrat, Voting, Majority rule, Political science, Public administration, Layoff, Political party, Percentage point, Social transformation, Participation (decision making), Subsidy, Developmental state, Private sector, Types of democracy, Civil service, Household, Privatization, Politics, Confidence interval, Political economy, Economics, Democratization, Economy, State bank, Economic development, Social class, Calculation, Communism, Workforce, Probability, Government, Electoral fraud, Democracy, Economic liberalism, Democratic revolution, Elite, Welfare, Career, Selection bias, Communist state, Wealth, Incumbent, Regime change, Activism, Economic growth, Job security, Indoctrination, Logistic regression, Developed country, Entrepreneurship, Modernization theory, Employment, Protest, Levada Center, Of Education, Income, Institution, Political freedom, Social protection, Orange Revolution, Uzbekistan, Public sector, Wage, Regime