Political Competition in Weak States
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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