Kleptocracy and Divide-and-Rule: A Model of Personal Rule
Many developing countries have suffered under the personal rule of ‘kleptocrats’, who implement highly inefficient economic policies, expropriate the wealth of their citizens, and use the proceeds for their own glorification or consumption. The incidence of kleptocracy is a serious impediment to development. Yet how do kleptocrats survive? How can they apparently exploit the entire citizenship of countries and not foment successful opposition? In this research we argue that the success of kleptocrats rests on their ability to use a particular type of political strategy, which we refer to as ‘divide-and-rule’. Members of society need to cooperate in order to depose a kleptocrat. A kleptocrat, however, may defuse such cooperation by imposing punitive rates of taxation on any citizen who proposes such a move, and redistributing the benefits to those who need to agree to it. Thus kleptocrats can intensify the collective action problem by threats that remain off the equilibrium path. In equilibrium, all are exploited and no one challenges the kleptocrat because of the threat of divide-and-rule. The divide-and-rule strategy is made possible by the weakness of the institutions in these societies, and highlights the different nature of politics between strongly- and weakly-institutionalized polities. We show that foreign aid and rents from natural resources typically help kleptocratic rulers by providing them with greater resources to buy off opponents. Kleptocratic policies are also more likely to arise when opposition groups are shortsighted and when the average productivity in the economy is low. We also find that greater inequality between producer groups may constrain kleptocratic policies because more productive groups are more difficult to buy off.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
|Date of creation:||Sep 2003|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.|
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
|Order Information:|| Email: |
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A, 2002. "An African Success Story: Botswana," CEPR Discussion Papers 3219, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- James A. Robinson & Ragnar Torvik & Thierry Verdier, 2003.
"Politcal Foundations of the Resource Curse,"
DELTA Working Papers
2003-33, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
- Edward J Green & Robert H Porter, 1997.
"Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
1147, David K. Levine.
- Green, Edward J & Porter, Robert H, 1984. "Noncooperative Collusion under Imperfect Price Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 87-100, January.
- Green, Edward J. & Porter, Robert H., 1982. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Working Papers 367, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Sachs, J-D & Warner, A-M, 1995.
"Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth,"
517a, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
- David Dollar & Craig Burnside, 2000.
"Aid, Policies, and Growth,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 847-868, September.
- Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999.
"Political economics and macroeconomic policy,"
Handbook of Macroeconomics,
in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482
- Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Papers 630, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
- Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, . "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Working Papers 121, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
- Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," NBER Working Papers 6329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 1759, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Persson, Torsten & Tabellini , Guido, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Seminar Papers 630, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
- North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 803-832, December.
- Eliana La Ferrara & Robert H. Bates, 2001. "Political Competition in Weak States," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 159-184, 07.
- Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001.
"The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
- Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Wintrobe,Ronald, 1998. "The Political Economy of Dictatorship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521583299, 1.
- Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "The Economic Effects of Constitutions," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661926, June.
- Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 1998.
"Why did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality and Growth in Historical Perspective,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1797, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, and Growth in Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199.
- James A. Robinson & Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Political Losers as a Barrier to Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 126-130, May.
- William Easterly, 2002. "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262550423, June.
- Knack, Stephen, 2000. "Aid dependence and the quality of governance : a cross-country empirical analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2396, The World Bank.
- Grossman, Herschel I. & Noh, Suk Jae, 1994. "Proprietary public finance and economic welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 187-204, February.
- William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997.
"Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
- Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4059. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask to update the entry or send us the correct email address
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.