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Political Competition in Weak States

Author

Listed:
  • Eliana Laferrara
  • Robert H. Bates

Abstract

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?

Suggested Citation

  • Eliana Laferrara & Robert H. Bates, 2001. "Political Competition in Weak States," CID Working Papers 68A, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cid:wpfacu:68a
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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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    References listed on IDEAS

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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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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kevin Siqueira & Petros G. Sekeris, 2012. "Politics and Insurgencies," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(2), pages 157-181, July.
    2. Acemoglu, Daron, 2005. "Politics and economics in weak and strong states," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1199-1226, October.
    3. Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2013. "A Political Theory of Populism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 771-805.
    4. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2009. "Civil War: A Review of Fifty Years of Research," Working Papers id:2231, eSocialSciences.
    5. repec:voj:journl:v:63:y:2016:i:2:p:231-258 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson & Thierry Verdier, 2003. "Kleptocracy and Divide-and-Rule: A Model of Personal Rule," NBER Working Papers 10136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2010. "Civil War," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-57, March.
    8. Nurmikko, Sanna, 2008. "Survival of Political Leadership," Economics Discussion Papers 8925, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    9. Catalina Tejada & Eliana Ferrara & Henrik Kleven & Florian Blum & Oriana Bandiera & Michel Azulai, 2015. "State Effectiveness, Growth, and Development," Working Papers id:6668, eSocialSciences.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    rent seeking; conflict; local public goods; political competition;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development

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