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Regime spoiler or regime pawn: the military and distributional conflict in non-democracies

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  • Amegashie, J. Atsu
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    Abstract

    I consider a model in which an autocrat can be removed from power either through a military coup or a revolution by the citizens. In the event of a revolt by the citizens, the military may choose to support the autocrat to crush the revolt or play a passive role. The autocrat determines the distribution of the country's wealth among himself, the military, and the citizens. I find that, under certain conditions, there exists a unique Markov perfect equilibrium in which there are no coups, the citizens revolt in each period, and the military fights on behalf of the autocrat. Under a different set of conditions, there is another Markov perfect equilibrium in which there are no coups, the citizens always revolt, but the military does not fight the revolt. However, peace (no revolts) is also an equilibrium of the model. The model is consistent with the persistence of social unrest or civil wars in certain countries and the different roles played by the military in different countries. Surprisingly, I find that if the citizens' outside option (i.e., payoff in a democracy) improves, this is likely to make them worse off. Furthermore, an increase in natural resources is likely to make the citizens worse off because it reduces the probability of a transition to democracy or the prospect of good governance in autocracy. I discuss other implications of the model and relate it to real-world events.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 55336.

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    Date of creation: 06 Mar 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:55336

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    Keywords: autocracy; continuation value; military; Markov equilibrium; revolution;

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    1. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2009. "Testing the neocon agenda: Democracy in resource-rich societies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 293-308, April.
    2. Kevin K. Tsui, 2011. "More Oil, Less Democracy: Evidence from Worldwide Crude Oil Discoveries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(551), pages 89-115, March.
    3. Acemoglu, Daron & Ticchi, Davide & Vindigni, Andrea, 2009. "Persistence of Civil Wars," IZA Discussion Papers 4418, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Timothy Besley & James A. Robinson, 2010. "Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Civilian Control Over the Military," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 655-663, 04-05.
    5. Michael Alexeev & Robert Conrad, 2009. "The Elusive Curse of Oil," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 586-598, August.
    6. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, December.
    7. Acemoglu, Daron & Ticchi, Davide & Vindigni, Andrea, 2008. "A Theory of Military Dictatorships," Papers, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy 03-10-2008a, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
    8. Gallego, M. & Pitchik, C., 2004. "An economic theory of leadership turnover," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2361-2382, December.
    9. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
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