This paper takes the view that theocracies are essentially a form of dictatorship and verifies whether this interpretation is empirically supported when applied to the longest lasting example of theocracy, the temporal power of the Popes. The length of its record and the many historical shocks it had to face reveal information about the incentives and constraints that characterize it.We use this information to test some of the predictions of a theory of dictatorship about the durability of, and the source of opposition to the various regimes on data about the Papacy. The results appear to support the theory.
Padovano, F., Wintrobe, R. (2013). The Dictatorship of the Popes. KYKLOS, 66(3), 365-377.