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Kleptocracy and Revolutions

  • Grossman, Herschel I

This paper develops an economic theory of revolutions as manifestations of kleptocratic rivalry. The theory implies that whether or not a revolution occurs and, if a revolution occurs, the probability that it will be successful depends on the current realizations of the stochastic factors, such as the current potential revolutionary leader's skill in organizing a revolution, that determine the expected effectiveness of insurgents relative to the ruler's soldiers. But, the theory also implies that, given the current realization of the expected effectiveness of insurgents, more is spent on deterring revolutions that do not occur, and revolutions when they occur consume more resources, the larger is the value of being the kleptocratic ruler. Unsurprisingly, some of those who suffered for the cause, in exile or underground, now feel they deserve their just rewards: good salaries, nice cars, patronage, and perks. Copyright 1999 by Royal Economic Society.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 51 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 267-83

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:51:y:1999:i:2:p:267-83
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