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Hit or Miss? The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War

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  • Benjamin F. Jones
  • Benjamin A. Olken

Abstract

Assassinations are a persistent feature of the political landscape. Using a new data set of assassination attempts on all world leaders from 1875 to 2004, we exploit inherent randomness in the success or failure of assassination attempts to identify assassination's effects. We find that, on average, successful assassinations of autocrats produce sustained moves toward democracy. We also find that assassinations affect the intensity of small-scale conflicts. The results document a contemporary source of institutional change, inform theories of conflict, and show that small sources of randomness can have a pronounced effect on history.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13102.

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Date of creation: May 2007
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Publication status: published as Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2009. "Hit or Miss? The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 55-87, July.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13102

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  1. Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 379-414, June.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2001. "Legal Origins," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research 1920, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A & Yared, Pierre, 2005. "Income and Democracy," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5273, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Sandeep Baliga & David Lucca & Tomas Sjostrom, 2009. "Domestic Political Survival and International Conflict: Is Democracy Good for Peace?," Departmental Working Papers, Rutgers University, Department of Economics 200907, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  5. Asaf Zussman & Noam Zussman, 2006. "Assassinations: Evaluating the Effectiveness of an Israeli Counterterrorism Policy Using Stock Market Data," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 193-206, Spring.
  6. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864, August.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Edward Glaeser & Giacomo Ponzetto & Andrei Shleifer, 2007. "Why does democracy need education?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 77-99, June.
  9. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  10. James Feyrer & Bruce Sacerdote, 2006. "Colonialism and Modern Income -- Islands as Natural Experiments," NBER Working Papers 12546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  1. The impact of leader assassinations on institutions
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2008-12-17 11:08:00
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  2. Hit or Miss? The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War (AEJ:MA 2009) in ReplicationWiki

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