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The Control of Politicians in Divided Societies: The Politics of Fear

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  • Gerard Padro i Miquel

Abstract

Autocrats in many developing countries have extracted enormous personal rents from power. In addition, they have imposed inefficient policies including pervasive patronage spending. I present a model in which the presence of ethnic identities and the absence of institutionalized succession processes allow the ruler to elicit support from a sizeable share of the population despite large reductions in welfare. The fear of falling under an equally inefficient and venal ruler that favors another group is enough to discipline supporters. The model predicts extensive use of patronage, ethnic bias in taxation and spending patterns and unveils a new mechanism through which economic frictions translate into increased rent extraction by the leader. These predictions are consistent with the experiences of bad governance, ethnic bias, wasteful policies and kleptocracy in post-colonial Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerard Padro i Miquel, 2006. "The Control of Politicians in Divided Societies: The Politics of Fear," NBER Working Papers 12573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12573
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    Cited by:

    1. Banerjee, Abhijit V. & Pande, Rohini, 2007. "Parochial Politics: Ethnic Preferences and Politician Corruption," Working Paper Series rwp07-031, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Besley, Timothy & Kudamatsu, Masayuki, 2007. "Making autocracy work," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3764, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Petros G. Sekeris, 2008. "Preference Falsification and Patronage," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 08-18, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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