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The Killing Game: Reputation and Knowledge in Non-Democratic Succession

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  • Egorov, Georgy
  • Sonin, Konstantin

Abstract

The winner of a battle for a throne can either execute or spare the loser; if the loser is spared, he contends the throne in the next period. Executing the losing contender gives the winner an additional quiet period, but then his life is at risk if he loses to some future contender who might be, in equilibrium, too frightened to spare him. The trade-off is analysed within a dynamic complete information game, with, potentially, an infinite number of long-term players. In an equilibrium, decisions to execute predecessors are history-dependent. With a dynastic rule in place, incentives to kill the predecessor are much higher than in non-hereditary dictatorships. The historical part of our analytic narrative contains a detailed analysis of two types of non-democratic succession: hereditary rule of the Osmanli dynasty in the Ottoman Empire in 1281–1922, and non-hereditary military dictatorships in Venezuela in 1830–1964.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5092.

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Date of creation: Jun 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5092

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Keywords: dictatorship; economic history; positive political theory; succession;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Roger Lagunoff (Georgetown University), 2005. "Markov Equilibrium in Models of Dynamic Endogenous Political Institutions," Working Papers gueconwpa~05-05-07, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Timothy Besley & Masayuki Kudamatsu, 2007. "Making Autocracy Work," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 48, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  3. Tim Willems & Shaun Larcom & Mare Sarr, 2014. "Dictators Walking the Mogadishu Line: How Men Become Monsters and Monsters Become Men," Economics Series Working Papers 701, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Jinhui Bai & Roger Lagunoff, 2007. "On the “Faustian” Dynamics of Policy and Political Power," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001627, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Roger Lagunoff, 2006. "Dynamic Stability and Reform of Political Institutions," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000051, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Tim Willems & Shaun Larcom & Mare Sarr, 2013. "What shall we do with the bad dictator?," Economics Series Working Papers 671, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  7. Roger Lagunoff, 2004. "The Dynamic Reform of Political Institutions," Working Papers gueconwpa~04-04-07, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  8. Li, Yuan & Gilli, Mario, 2014. "Accountability in Autocracies: The Role of Revolution Threat," Working Paper Series 2014-30, Stockholm China Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 06 Mar 2014.
  9. Alexander Baturo, 2007. "Presidential Succession and Democratic Transitions," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp209, IIIS.

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