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Political Competition in Weak States

Listed author(s):
  • Eliana Laferrara
  • Robert H. Bates
Registered author(s):

    In less developed societies, states are weak, possessing no monopoly over violence, and political competition is not constrained by the rules of election. The paper presents and analyzes a simple model of political competition in such settings. Citizens are viewed as occupying fixed locations; they cannot choose whether to participate, i.e. to pay taxes, but can choose which politician to support. Politicians are viewed as seeking wealth, which they pursue by recruiting political followers. They campaign for supporters by providing local public goods, by recruiting armed followers, and by playing upon cultural identities. Within this framework, we ask: Choosing optimally, how will politicians behave? What factors yield political advantages? How do cultural identities shape political competition and political violence? What are the implications for peace keeping in developing nations?

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    File URL: https://www.hks.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/centers/cid/files/publications/faculty-working-papers/068.pdf
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    Paper provided by Center for International Development at Harvard University in its series CID Working Papers with number 68A.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2001
    Handle: RePEc:cid:wpfacu:68a
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    1. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-1056.
    2. Grossman, Herschel I., 2002. ""Make us a king": anarchy, predation, and the state," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 31-46, March.
    3. Skaperdas, Stergios, 1992. "Cooperation, Conflict, and Power in the Absence of Property Rights," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 720-739, September.
    4. Harrington, Joseph Jr. & Hess, Gregory D., 1996. "A Spatial Theory of Positive and Negative Campaigning," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 209-229, December.
    5. Marcouiller, Douglas & Young, Leslie, 1995. "The Black Hole of Graft: The Predatory State and the Informal Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 630-646, June.
    6. Grossman, Herschel I & Kim, Minseong, 1995. "Swords or Plowshares? A Theory of the Security of Claims to Property," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1275-1288, December.
    7. Jack Hirshleifer, 1989. "Conflict and rent-seeking success functions: Ratio vs. difference models of relative success," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 63(2), pages 101-112, November.
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