A project proposal should contain a literature review, a research question and proposed hypotheses,Theoretical framework, a methodological outline and an indicative planning.

Description: The literature on the rentier state and the resource curse argues convincingly that state income from exports of natural resources can be used to strengthen authoritarian states by either buying loyalty or building up state capacities for the suppression of dissent. However, little is known about the conditions under which this authoritarian strengthening becomes feasible and the explaining factors for specific strategies of the authoritarian leaders. The Caspian states offer interesting case studies in this respect as they all share a common Soviet legacy. Comparing resource-rich and resource-poor countries offers a chance to identify the impact of resource rents and will also provide a better understanding of general authoritarian strategies to create stability and legitimacy.