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Healthy Investment: Social Stability Risk and Public Health Expenditures in Autocracies
Unformatted Document Text:  take various forms, and political institutions do play an important role in shaping these interests, but both democratic and authoritarian leaders desire some degree of political legitimacy, and the sources of legitimacy are very different from one another. It is precisely because authoritarian leaders could not derive legitimacy from authoritarian institutions, legitimacy based on the provision of social welfare benefits is even more meaningful in authoritarian settings. In this paper I argue that political leaders are motivated to reduce social stability risk in order to stay in power, and one important means through which they achieve this goal is to maintain political legitimacy by providing social welfare benefits. Generally, political leaders who enjoy a higher degree of legitimacy are more able to maintain social and political stability. In contrast, political leaders with a low level of legitimacy are more likely to be ousted. Since autocrats, unlike democratic leaders who derive legitimacy from the electoral system, could not obtain legitimacy from political institutions, improving the overall well being of the population has become an arguably most important source of legitimacy for them. However, due to an easier and less restricted access to military and police forces, it appears that legitimacy is not as crucial to authoritarian leaders as to democratic leaders. However, because the price of exiting the political market is typically much higher for authoritarian leaders, generating social outputs in the form of social welfare benefits is even more important to them when social stability is at risk. In addition, not all authoritarian regimes are exactly like each other. Rather, authoritarian regimes also exhibit a wide variety of institutional differences, which suggests that the responsiveness induced by perceived social instability could also be different. Thus, in addition to differentiating between democracies and autocracies, I also differentiate between different types of authoritarian systems. One typology I find that is particularly useful is developed by Geddes (Geddes 1999), who argues, “different kinds of authoritarianism differ from each other as much as they differ from democracy” (Geddes 1999, p.121). She proposes theoretical foundations for explaining these differences among various types of authoritarianism. Her typology classifies authoritarian regimes as personalist, military, single-party, or amalgams of the pure types. Compared with the other two types of regimes, single-party systems are more likely to produce more social welfare benefits because of two reasons. Given that single-party regimes on 10

Authors: Yu, Bin.
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take various forms, and political institutions do play an important role in shaping these
interests, but both democratic and authoritarian leaders desire some degree of political
legitimacy, and the sources of legitimacy are very different from one another. It is
precisely because authoritarian leaders could not derive legitimacy from authoritarian
institutions, legitimacy based on the provision of social welfare benefits is even more
meaningful in authoritarian settings.
In this paper I argue that political leaders are motivated to reduce social stability risk
in order to stay in power, and one important means through which they achieve this goal
is to maintain political legitimacy by providing social welfare benefits. Generally,
political leaders who enjoy a higher degree of legitimacy are more able to maintain social
and political stability. In contrast, political leaders with a low level of legitimacy are more
likely to be ousted. Since autocrats, unlike democratic leaders who derive legitimacy
from the electoral system, could not obtain legitimacy from political institutions,
improving the overall well being of the population has become an arguably most
important source of legitimacy for them. However, due to an easier and less restricted
access to military and police forces, it appears that legitimacy is not as crucial to
authoritarian leaders as to democratic leaders. However, because the price of exiting the
political market is typically much higher for authoritarian leaders, generating social
outputs in the form of social welfare benefits is even more important to them when social
stability is at risk. In addition, not all authoritarian regimes are exactly like each other.
Rather, authoritarian regimes also exhibit a wide variety of institutional differences,
which suggests that the responsiveness induced by perceived social instability could also
be different. Thus, in addition to differentiating between democracies and autocracies, I
also differentiate between different types of authoritarian systems. One typology I find
that is particularly useful is developed by Geddes (Geddes 1999), who argues, “different
kinds of authoritarianism differ from each other as much as they differ from democracy”
(Geddes 1999, p.121). She proposes theoretical foundations for explaining these
differences among various types of authoritarianism. Her typology classifies authoritarian
regimes as personalist, military, single-party, or amalgams of the pure types. Compared
with the other two types of regimes, single-party systems are more likely to produce more
social welfare benefits because of two reasons. Given that single-party regimes on
10


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