This project investigates the impact of international economic flows on breakdown and survival of autocratic regimes. Research in this area is scarce and remains theoretically and empirically unclear. Using insights from recent research about the politics of authoritarian rule, this thesis proposes an actor-centered model of regime change focusing on the interplay between the autocratic leader and both the popular masses and the regime elite. Building on this, globalization-induced distributional conflicts are introduced. I hypothesize that economic globalization helps autocrats to maintain their power through a legitimacy-enhancing and cooptation-enabling effect. But, this is conditional on the distributional effects of economic globalization. These implications are analyzed with cross-national statistical models as well as in-depth case studies.