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Extermination as a substitute for assimilation or deportation: an economic approach

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  • Ferrero, Mario

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Abstract

This paper places genocide or mass murder in a continuum of actions that a ruling power can take to remove an unwanted group from a society; that is, it views extermination as a means to an end, and it assumes that perpetrators are rational in the sense that they will choose the combination of means that can achieve the goal at the minimum cost to themselves. The means are assimilation into the general society, physical removal from view (which may involve either deportation within the country or exile from the country), and extermination. The available options and their costs will depend on the type of group, viz.: ethnic/national/racial, religious, income/property class, political. After developing the theoretical framework, the paper surveys a range of historical case studies from different types of group and finds good support for the cost-minimization hypothesis. In particular, it finds that in most cases the choice of means is an interior solution, as the hypothesis would lead one to expect, and that the chosen combination shifts as relative costs change.

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File URL: http://polis.unipmn.it/pubbl/RePEc/uca/ucapdv/polis0206.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS in its series POLIS Working Papers with number 174.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uca:ucapdv:174

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Web page: http://polis.unipmn.it

Related research

Keywords: extermination; exile; deportation; assimilation; cost minimization;

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  1. Gregory, Paul R. & Schröder, Philipp J.H. & Sonin, Konstantin, 2011. "Rational dictators and the killing of innocents: Data from Stalin's archives," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 34-42, March.
  2. Ferrero, Mario, 2008. "The triumph of Christianity in the Roman empire: An economic interpretation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 73-87, March.
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