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The distribution of income in a despotic society


  • D. Usher
  • M. Engineer


A distribution of income between rulers and subjects can be derived as an equilibrium of violence, rather than from considerations of marginal products of owned factors of production. Society is organized in ranks, and the occupants of each rank are provided with incomes just sufficient that obedience is preferable to rebellion. To incorporate such considerations into a model, it is necessary to recognize phenomena that are normally excluded from economic analysis: combat, the mortality rate (from natural causes and from violence) as a component of the utility function, and a rudimentary technology of control. Copyright Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1987

Suggested Citation

  • D. Usher & M. Engineer, 1987. "The distribution of income in a despotic society," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(3), pages 261-276, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:54:y:1987:i:3:p:261-276
    DOI: 10.1007/BF00125649

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gary S. Becker & George J. Stigler, 1974. "Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
    2. Brennan,Geoffrey & Buchanan,James M., 2006. "The Power to Tax," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521027922, May.
    3. Roemer, John E, 1985. "Rationalizing Revolutionary Ideology," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(1), pages 85-108, January.
    4. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1979. "Bureaucrats Versus Voters: On the Political Economy of Resource Allocation by Direct Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(4), pages 563-587.
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Sutter, 1997. "Enforcing Constitutional Constraints," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 139-150, June.
    2. Skaperdas, Stergios & Syropoulos, Constantinos, 1996. "Can the shadow of the future harm cooperation?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 355-372, May.
    3. Suk Jae Noh, 2014. "Economic and Political Reforms in a Planned Economy," Korean Economic Review, Korean Economic Association, vol. 30, pages 333-348.
    4. Polachek Solomon W., 1999. "Conflict and Trade: An Economics Approach to Political International Interactions," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-32, April.
    5. MacCulloch, Robert, 1999. "What makes a revolution?," ZEI Working Papers B 24-1999, University of Bonn, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies.
    6. Mehrdad Vahabi, 2009. "A Critical Review of Strategic Conflict Theory and Socio-political Instability Models," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 119(6), pages 817-858.
    7. Kjell Hausken, 2005. "Production and Conflict Models Versus Rent-Seeking Models," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 59-93, April.
    8. Noh, Suk Jae, 1999. "A General Equilibrium Model of Two Group Conflict with Endogenous Intra-group Sharing Rules," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 251-267, March.
    9. Filip Palda, 2001. "The Economics of Election Campaign Spending Limits," Public Economics 0111011, EconWPA.
    10. Hausken, Kjell, 2000. "Migration and intergroup conflict," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 327-331, December.
    11. Möller Marie, 2011. "Gefangen im Dilemma? Ein strategischer Ansatz der Wahlund Revolutionsteilnahme / Trapped in Dilemma? A Strategic Approach to explain Participation in Elections and Revolutions," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 62(1), pages 425-454, January.
    12. Hausken, Kjell, 1998. "Collective rent seeking and division of labor1," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 739-768, November.
    13. Möller, Marie, 2011. "Gefangen im Dilemma? Ein strategischer Ansatz der Wahl- und Revolutionsteilnahme," CIW Discussion Papers 3/2011, University of Münster, Center for Interdisciplinary Economics (CIW).
    14. Edgardo E. Zablotsky, 1992. "A Public Choice Approach to Military Coups d'Etat," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 85, Universidad del CEMA.

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