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Why Kill Politicians? A Rational Choice Analysis of Political Assassinations

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  • Bruno S. Frey

Abstract

In the course of history a large number of politicians has been assassinated. A rational choice analysis is used to distinguish the expected marginal benefits of killing, and the marginal cost of attacking a politician. The comparative analysis of various equilibria helps us to gain insights into specific historical events. The analysis suggests that ? in addition to well-known security measures ? an extension of democracy, a rule by a committee of several politicians, more decentralization via the division of power and federalism, and a strengthening of civil society significantly reduce politicians? probability of being attacked and killed.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno S. Frey, 2007. "Why Kill Politicians? A Rational Choice Analysis of Political Assassinations," CREMA Working Paper Series 2007-08, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2007-08
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. von Hagen, Jurgen & Wolff, Guntram B., 2006. "What do deficits tell us about debt? Empirical evidence on creative accounting with fiscal rules in the EU," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 3259-3279, December.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Gary S. Becker & William M. Landes, 1974. "Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck74-1, January.
    4. Cameron, Samuel, 1988. "The Economics of Crime Deterrence: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 301-323.
    5. Bruno S. Frey, 2007. "Overprotected Politicians," CESifo Working Paper Series 2019, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Bruno S. Frey, 2004. "Dealing with Terrorism – Stick or Carrot?," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3435, April.
    7. Robert H. Bates & Avner Greif & Margaret Levi & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 1998. "Analytic Narratives," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 6355.
    8. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "Land Reform, Poverty Reduction, and Growth: Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 389-430.
    9. Edward L. Glaeser, 2006. "The Political Economy of Warfare," NBER Working Papers 12738, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    11. Dafflon, Bernard & Rossi, Sergio, 1999. "Public Accounting Fudges towards EMU: A First Empirical Survey and Some Public Choice Considerations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 101(1-2), pages 59-84, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Benno Torgler & Bruno Frey, 2013. "Politicians: be killed or survive," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 357-386, July.
    2. Bruno S. Frey, 2007. "Overprotected Politicians," CESifo Working Paper Series 2019, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rational choice; democracy; dictatorship; assassination; deterrence;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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