Welfare Expenditure and Economic Growth

Comparative Politics
Inequality and Redistribution
Economic Growth

Park, Sanghoon. 2015. “Welfare Expenditure and Economic Growth.” Journal of Glabal Politics 8(2): 81-107.


Political Science, Univeristy of South Carolina


August 2015


This paper evaluates why authoritarian regimes design social policies to provide the welfare. Social welfare policies are coordinated outcomes that link the political and economic realms together. Despite a rich literature on this topic in industrialized democracies, little research has investigated the mechanisms in authoritarian regimes. I argue that the limited focus on welfare provision in democracies stems from several flawed assumptions about the ability of modern autocracies to create similar programs and the mechanisms behind it. Although autocrats are more autonomous decision makers than democratic leaders, they rarely rule alone. As such, social policies in authoritarian regimes are driven by the autocrats’ need to create stable ruling coalitions. The welfare provided in authoritarian regimes should differ depending on the groups on which the autocrat depends for support. The ability to effectively decommodify welfare and provide assistance should also vary based on regime characteristics and resource availability. I examine this using data on authoritarian regimes and social policies over the period 1917 to 2000, showing that authoritarian welfare provision depends on the ruling coalition in place.

BibTeX citation

    Author = {Sanghoon Park},
    Journal = {Journal of Glabal Politics},
    Number = {2},
    Pages = {81--107},
    Title = {Welfare Expenditure and Economic Growth},
    Volume = {8},
    Year = {2015}}