Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Date Available


Executive Summary

Different types of regimes face different political situations and have different incentives to pursue different policies. In this paper, I am examining whether there are any differences in economic and social policy outcomes under democracy and dictatorship in Indonesia. The study is divided into two periods. The first period covers the authoritarian rule of President Suharto(1966 to 1998) and the second period covers the new democratic government(1999 to 2010). I set out by analyzing the rules used in distinguishing democracy from dictatorship and discussing the process by which Suharto's regime was categorized as a dictatorship and the Indonesian government after 1999 as democratic. Then I compare and contrast the economic and social policies pursued under each of the two regime types and the policy outcomes achieved. Some authors suggest that democracy is more conducive to economic and human development than authoritarian leadership whereas others suggest that there is no significant difference. Some even suggest the authoritarian regime to be better at developing a country. In the case of Indonesia, I found that there is no significant change in the trend both in economic and human development and in some cases, the development rate is slower under democracy. I discuss the findings in light of literatures on democracy and development. Indonesia's democracy is still young and the democratic period covered by the study is relatively short compared to the authoritarian period. Better comparison of policy outcomes could be made in the future if further research can be done after Indonesia's democracy becomes stronger.



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