The last decade has witnessed growing interest among political scientists and economists in nondemocratic politics. This trend has been reflected in increasingly rigorous game-theoretic modeling of its various aspects: regime persistence and breakdown, ruling-coalition formation and leadership change, protests and repression, formal institutions and elections, and censorship and media control. We review this research agenda, focusing on the foundational assumptions and political intuition behind key models. Our survey reveals a field populated by disparate models of particular mechanisms that nonetheless share two major analytical themes: asymmetries of information and commitment problems. We propose that future models move toward a genuinely comparative study of authoritarian institutions.


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