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Political Autonomy and Independence: Theory and Experimental Evidence

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Abstract

We study the process by which subordinated regions of a country can obtain a more favourable political status. In our theoretical model a dominant and a dominated region first interact through a voting process that can lead to different degrees of autonomy. If this process fails then both regions engage in a costly political conflict which can only lead to the maintenance of the initial subordination of the region in question or to its complete independence. In the subgame-perfect equilibrium the voting process always leads to an intermediate arrangement acceptable for both parts. Hence, the costly political struggle never occurs. In contrast, in our experiments we observe a large amount of fighting involving high material losses, even in a case in which the possibilities for an arrangement without conflict are very salient. In our experimental environment intermediate solutions are feasible and stable, but purely emotional elements prevent them from being reached.

Suggested Citation

  • Klaus Abbink & Jordi Brandts, 2007. "Political Autonomy and Independence: Theory and Experimental Evidence," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 689.07, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  • Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:689.07
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    Cited by:

    1. Changxia Ke & Kai A. Konrad & Florian Morath, 2015. "Alliances In The Shadow Of Conflict," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(2), pages 854-871, April.
    2. Libman, Alexander, 2011. "Words or deeds – what matters? Experience of recentralization in Russian security agencies," MPRA Paper 29197, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. McBride, Michael & Skaperdas, Stergios, 2014. "Conflict, settlement, and the shadow of the future," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 75-89.
    4. Libman, Alexander Mikhailovich, 2009. "Эндогенные Границы И Распределение Власти В Федерациях И Международных Сообществах
      [ENDOGENOUS BOUNDARIES AND DISTRIBUTION OF POWER In the Federation]
      ," MPRA Paper 16473, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Lacomba, Juan A. & Lagos, Francisco & Reuben, Ernesto & van Winden, Frans, 2017. "Decisiveness, peace, and inequality in games of conflict," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, pages 216-229.
    6. Lacomba, Juan A. & Lagos, Francisco & Reuben, Ernesto & van Winden, Frans, 2014. "On the escalation and de-escalation of conflict," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 40-57.
    7. Klaus Abbink & David Masclet & Daniel Mirza, 2012. "Inequality and Inter-group Conflicts – Experimental Evidence," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2012-07-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Secession; collective action; independence movements; laboratory experiments; rent-seeking;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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