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Devolution under Autocracies: Evidence from Pakistan

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Authoritarian regimes often direct the course of electoral politics in ways that allow them to concentrate and consolidate power (Geddes, 1999; Svolik, 2012; Gandhi and Przeworski, 2007; Gandhi, 2015). While a growing body of literature has devoted attention to studying politics under authoritarian rule, devolution under dictatorship remains a relatively understudied aspect. Why do autocrats devolve power to the local level and what are the long-run impacts of such devolution on political outcomes? In the present research, we have attempted to assess the impact of local government reforms carried out by Pakistan’s military regime under General Zia-ul-Haq on the subsequent trajectory of electoral politics.

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