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

Listed author(s):
  • Benjamin F. Jones
  • Benjamin A. Olken

Assassinations are a persistent feature of the political landscape. Using a new dataset 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 the effects of assassination. 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. (JEL D72, N40, O17)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/mac.1.2.55
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/mac/data/2008-0058_data.zip
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 55-87

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:1:y:2009:i:2:p:55-87
Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.1.2.55
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-macro
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. James Feyrer & Bruce Sacerdote, 2009. "Colonialism and Modern Income: Islands as Natural Experiments," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 245-262, May.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2008. "Income and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 808-842, June.
  3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:93:y:1999:i:04:p:791-807_21 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Sandeep Baliga & David O. Lucca & Tomas Sjöström, 2011. "Domestic Political Survival and International Conflict: Is Democracy Good for Peace?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(2), pages 458-486.
  5. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Legal Origins," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1193-1229.
  6. 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, vol. 20(2), pages 193-206, Spring.
  7. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864.
  8. Edward Glaeser & Giacomo Ponzetto & Andrei Shleifer, 2007. "Why does democracy need education?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 77-99, June.
  9. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  10. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
  11. repec:cup:apsrev:v:53:y:1959:i:01:p:69-105_00 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Matthew O. Jackson & Massimo Morelli, 2007. "Political Bias and War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1353-1373, September.
    • Jackson, Matthew O. & Morelli, Massimo, "undated". "Political bias and war," Working Papers 1247, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  13. Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 379-414, June.
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  1. Hit or Miss? The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War (AEJ:MA 2009) in ReplicationWiki
  2. Economic Logic blog

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