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The Killing Game: Reputation and Knowledge in Non-Democratic Succession

Author

Listed:
  • George Egorov

    () (CEFIR)

  • Konstantin Sonin

    () (New Economic School & CEFIR)

Abstract

The winner of a battle for a throne can either execute or spare the loser; if the loser is spared, he contends the throne in the next period. Executing the losing contender gives the winner an additional quiet period, but then his life is at risk if he loses to some future contender who might be, in equilibrium, too frightened to spare him. The trade-off is analyzed within a dynamic complete information game, with, potentially, an infinite number of long-term players. In an equilibrium, decisions to execute predecessors are history-dependent. With a dynastic rule in place, incentives to kill the predecessor are much higher than in non-hereditary dictatorships.The historical part of our analytic narrative contains a detailed analysis of two types of nondemocratic succession: hereditary rule of the Osmanli dynasty in the Ottoman Empire in 1281—1922, and non-hereditary military dictatorships in Venezuela in 1830—1964.

Suggested Citation

  • George Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2005. "The Killing Game: Reputation and Knowledge in Non-Democratic Succession," Economics Working Papers 0054, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:ads:wpaper:0054
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Roger Lagunoff, 2004. "The Dynamic Reform of Political Institutions," Working Papers gueconwpa~04-04-07, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    2. Lagunoff, Roger, 2009. "Dynamic stability and reform of political institutions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 569-583, November.
    3. Tim Willems & Shaun Larcom & Mare Sarr, 2013. "What shall we do with the bad dictator?," Economics Series Working Papers 671, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    4. Shaun Larcom & Mare Sarr & Tim Willems, 2018. "Dictators Walking the Mogadishu Line: How Men Become Monsters and Monsters Become Men," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 32(3), pages 584-609.
    5. Roger Lagunoff, 2005. "Markov Equilibrium in Models of Dynamic Endogenous Political Institutions," Game Theory and Information 0501003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Besley, Timothy J. & Kudamatsu, Masayuki, 2007. "Making Autocracy Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 6371, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Alexander Baturo, 2007. "Presidential Succession and Democratic Transitions," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp209, IIIS.
    8. Jinhui Bai & Roger Lagunoff, 2007. "On the “Faustian” Dynamics of Policy and Political Power," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001627, UCLA Department of Economics.
    9. Li, Yuan & Gilli, Mario, 2014. "Accountability in Autocracies: The Role of Revolution Threat," Stockholm School of Economics Asia Working Paper Series 2014-30, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm China Economic Research Institute, revised 06 Mar 2014.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative

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