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Overprotected Politicians


  • Bruno S. Frey


This paper argues that politicians are overprotected. The costs of political assassination differ systematically depending on whether a private or a public point of view is taken. A politician attributes a very high (if not infinite) cost to his or her survival. The social cost of political assassination is much smaller as politicians are replaceable. Conversely, the private cost of the security measures is low for politicians, its bulk – including time loss and inconvenience – is imposed on taxpayers and the general public. The extent of overprotection is larger in dictatorial than in democratic countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno S. Frey, 2007. "Overprotected Politicians," CESifo Working Paper Series 2019, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2019

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert MacCulloch & Silvia Pezzini, 2010. "The Roles of Freedom, Growth, and Religion in the Taste for Revolution," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(2), pages 329-358, May.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Bruno S. Frey, 2007. "Why Kill Politicians? A Rational Choice Analysis of Political Assassinations," CREMA Working Paper Series 2007-08, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    4. Gary S. Becker & William M. Landes, 1974. "Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck74-1, January.
    5. Brennan,Geoffrey & Buchanan,James M., 2006. "The Power to Tax," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521027922, March.
    6. Cameron, Samuel, 1988. "The Economics of Crime Deterrence: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 301-323.
    7. Bruno S. Frey, 2004. "Dealing with Terrorism – Stick or Carrot?," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3435.
    8. 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.
    9. Clarke, James W., 1981. "American Assassins: An Alternative Typology," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 81-104, January.
    10. Ivo K. Feierabend & Rosalind L. Feierabend, 1966. "Aggressive behaviors within polities, 1948-1962: a cross - national study 1," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 10(3), pages 249-271, September.
    11. Howard Taylor, 1998. "Rationing crime: the political economy of criminal statistics since the 1850s," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 51(3), pages 569-590, August.
    12. Wintrobe,Ronald, 1998. "The Political Economy of Dictatorship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521583299, March.
    13. repec:cup:apsrev:v:84:y:1990:i:03:p:849-872_19 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno S. Frey, 2007. "Why Kill Politicians? A Rational Choice Analysis of Political Assassinations," CREMA Working Paper Series 2007-08, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    2. repec:dau:papers:123456789/6913 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General


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