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Determinants of State Repression: A Multifaceted Examination of Domestic and International Factors

Nahapetyan, Hovhannes (2021) Determinants of State Repression: A Multifaceted Examination of Domestic and International Factors. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Significant scholarly work has emerged attempting to uncover the key determinants of state repressive behavior. Drawing on the most spatially and temporally comprehensive dataset utilized to date in the literature, and utilizing the statistical methods most appropriate for this time series cross-sectional data, the present dissertation contributes to this vibrant literature by advancing theoretical arguments and conducting empirical tests regarding both the interplay of domestic and international factors as well as focusing solely on the domestic determinants of state repression. Paper 1 explores whether inward foreign direct investment (FDI) affects a government’s respect of physical integrity rights and ultimately argues that political institutions moderate the relationship. It further differentiates between primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors. The empirical findings support the argument regarding the moderating role of democratic institutions, while sectoral analyses indicate a negative and statistically significant relationship between primary FDI and state repression in autocratic settings. Paper 2 examines whether a “resource curse” exists for state repressive behavior and examines the role that regime type and level of democratization play in moderating this relationship. The paper offers a potential mechanism emphasizing the importance of citizen engagement in contentious political behavior. The results indicate that: resource wealth negatively affects a state’s respect of physical integrity rights; improvements in political rights, short of achieving the levels observed in liberal democracies, do not ameliorate this deleterious effect; resource wealth leads to increased protest activities, which in turn may engender a coercive governmental response; and the resource curse is most prevalent in personalist and military regimes, while dominant-party regimes tend to avoid the damaging effects of resource wealth. Paper 3 extends this investigation by exploring the interplay between domestic and international determinants of state repression and examines whether state repressive capacity, proxied by military spending, and state redistributive capacity, operationalized as welfare spending on health, education, and social security, moderate the relationship between FDI and state repression. The empirical findings support the preventive role of military spending, particularly in autocratic regimes, but do not lend support for the conditional effect of welfare spending.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Nahapetyan, Hovhanneshnahapetyan@gmail.comhvn5
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairOwen,
Committee CoChairNelson,
Committee MemberSeybolt,
Committee MemberGamso,
Date: 15 June 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 January 2021
Approval Date: 15 June 2021
Submission Date: 7 April 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 215
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs > Public and International Affairs
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: State Repression, Foreign Direct Investment, Regime Type, Resource Curse, State Capacity, Welfare and Military Spending
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2021 13:04
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2021 13:04

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