Sociology Index


Autocracy is the concentration of power and authority in the hands of one person. Autocracy comes from the Ancient Greek autós and krátos, the Greek personification of authority. An autocracy is a system of government in which a single person exercises lordship over a polity. Absolute monarchies and dictatorships are the main modern-day forms of autocracy. The term autocracy can also be applied to particular social institutions where one individual has dominant power and authority. Totalitarianism and military dictatorship need not be an autocracy. Autocracy refers to a situation where state power is controlled through a political dictatorship.

Double Take - A Reexamination of Democracy and Autocracy in Modern Polities - Kristian S. Gleditsch, Michael D. Ward. The Polity data are widely used to explore the causes and consequences of democratic authority patterns. These data often have been used uncritically. The authors explore some of the theoretical and empirical characteristics of these data. They show how the analytical composition of the well-known democracy and autocracy scores is not upheld by an empirical analysis of the component measurements and demonstrate that democracy is fundamentally a reflection of decisional constraints on the chief executive.

Autocracy, Democracy, and History with Appendix: An Abstract Model of Autocratic Versus Democratic Government - Mancur Olson. "monarchy is the best kind of government because the King is then owner of the country. Like the owner of a house of a house, when the wiring is wrong, he fixes it." I could not deny that the owner of a country would indeed have an incentive to make his property productive or the implication that his subjects would also gain from this. Essay attempts to identify and explain commonplace historical differences between autocracies and democracies and to suggest why autocracies are the norm at some stages of historical development.

Democracy, Autocracy, and Intermediate Associations in Organizations: Flexibility or Unrestrained Change? - C. J. Calhoun. Organizational participation has often been treated as a matter of securing the involvement of individuals in a more democratic structure. Organizational responsiveness has often been sought in increasing ease and rate of change. These parallel approaches are criticized in this paper as overreactions to a myth of autocratic organization.

Limited Autocracy. Jonathan Klick. Abstract: All politicians, regardless of the nominal form of government within which they operate, face the trade-off between current period gains and tenure extension. That is, rulers can exploit their power for personal gain, but they risk being removed from their positions of power, either through a popular vote or a coup or revolution. If they temper their exploitation to remain in power, they sacrifice some of their current personal gain. Essentially all politicians are limited autocrats, where the limitations imposed on them differ according to the institutional structure under which they rule.

The Economics of Autocracy and Majority Rule 
MARTIN C. MCGUIRE, Irvine, Mancur L. Olson Jr.
ABSTRACT: Productive public good investment allocations, and group discriminatory redistributions are conflicting resource use options between which every government must choose irrespective of its political make up. The political logic of these economic decisions will lie on a spectrum between two polar extremes. At one extremes is an idealized, utopian, consensual democracy. At the other extreme is perfect autocracy ruled by a dictator who taxes and spends solely to satisfy his own selfish desires.