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The Killing Game: Reputation and Knowledge in Non-Democratic Succession

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  • Egorov, Georgy
  • Sonin, Konstantin

Abstract

The winner of a battle for a throne can either execute or spare the loser; if the loser is spared, he contends the throne in the next period. Executing the losing contender gives the winner an additional quiet period, but then his life is at risk if he loses to some future contender who might be, in equilibrium, too frightened to spare him. The trade-off is analysed within a dynamic complete information game, with, potentially, an infinite number of long-term players. In an equilibrium, decisions to execute predecessors are history-dependent. With a dynastic rule in place, incentives to kill the predecessor are much higher than in non-hereditary dictatorships. The historical part of our analytic narrative contains a detailed analysis of two types of non-democratic succession: hereditary rule of the Osmanli dynasty in the Ottoman Empire in 1281–1922, and non-hereditary military dictatorships in Venezuela in 1830–1964.

Suggested Citation

  • Egorov, Georgy & Sonin, Konstantin, 2005. "The Killing Game: Reputation and Knowledge in Non-Democratic Succession," CEPR Discussion Papers 5092, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5092
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lagunoff, Roger, 2009. "Dynamic stability and reform of political institutions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 569-583, November.
    2. Shaun Larcom & Mare Sarr & Tim Willems, 2018. "Dictators Walking the Mogadishu Line: How Men Become Monsters and Monsters Become Men," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 32(3), pages 584-609.
    3. Roger Lagunoff (Georgetown University), 2005. "Markov Equilibrium in Models of Dynamic Endogenous Political Institutions," Working Papers gueconwpa~05-05-07, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    4. Besley, Timothy & Kudamatsu, Masayuki, 2007. "Making autocracy work," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3764, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Roger Lagunoff, 2004. "The Dynamic Reform of Political Institutions," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 47, Econometric Society.
    6. Alexander Baturo, 2007. "Presidential Succession and Democratic Transitions," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp209, IIIS.
    7. Jinhui Bai & Roger Lagunoff, 2007. "On the “Faustian” Dynamics of Policy and Political Power," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001627, UCLA Department of Economics.
    8. Tim Willems & Shaun Larcom & Mare Sarr, 2013. "What shall we do with the bad dictator?," Economics Series Working Papers 671, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    9. Li, Yuan & Gilli, Mario, 2014. "Accountability in Autocracies: The Role of Revolution Threat," Stockholm School of Economics Asia Working Paper Series 2014-30, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm China Economic Research Institute, revised 06 Mar 2014.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    dictatorship; economic history; positive political theory; succession;

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative

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