The Need for Enemies
We develop a political economy model where some politicians have a comparative advantage in undertaking a task and this gives them an electoral advantage. This creates an incentive to underperform in the task in order to maintain their advantage. We interpret the model in the context of fighting against insurgents in a civil war and derive two main empirical implications which we test using Colombian data during the presidency of Álvaro Uribe. First, as long as rents from power are sufficiently important, large defeats for the insurgents should reduce the probability that politicians with comparative advantage, President Uribe, will fight the insurgents. Second, this effect should be larger in electorally salient municipalities. We find that after the three largest victories against the FARC rebel group, the government reduced its efforts to eliminate the group and did so differentially in politically salient municipalities. Our results therefore support the notion that such politicians need enemies to maintain their political advantage and act so as to keep the enemy alive.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2012|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as The Need for Enemies Leopoldo Fergusson1, James A. Robinson2, Ragnar Torvik3,* andJuan F. Vargas4 Article first published online: 14 OCT 2014 DOI: 10.1111/ecoj.12174|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Jorge Restrepo, Michael Spagat and Juan Vargas, 2003.
"The Dynamics of the Colombian Civil Conflict: A New Data Set,"
Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics
03/12, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Dec 2003.
- Jorge Restrepo & Michael Spagat & Juan Vargas, 2004. "The Dynamics of the Columbian Civil Conflict: A New Dataset," Homo Oeconomicus, Institute of SocioEconomics, vol. 21, pages 396-429.
- Jorge Restrepo & Michael Spagat & Juan Vargas, 2004. "The Dynamics of the Colombian Civil Conflict: A New Data Set," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 04/10, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Jul 2004.
- Restrepo, Jorge & Spagat, Michael & Vargas, Juan F, 2003. "The Dynamics of the Colombian Civil Conflict: A New Data Set," CEPR Discussion Papers 4108, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- James A. Robinson & Ragnar Torvik, 2006.
"A Political Economy Theory of the Soft Budget Constraint,"
NBER Working Papers
12133, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robinson, James A. & Torvik, Ragnar, 2009. "A political economy theory of the soft budget constraint," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 786-798, October.
- James A. Robinson & Ragnar Torvik, 2005. "A Political Economy Theory of the Soft Budget Constraint," Working Paper Series 5605, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
- Robinson, James A & Torvik, Ragnar, 2005. "A Political Economy Theory of the Soft Budget Constraint," CEPR Discussion Papers 5274, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 1995.
"Do Good Or Do Well? Public Debt Management In A Two-Party Economy,"
Economics and Politics,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 59-78, 03.
- G Milesi-Feretti, 1991. "Do Good or Do Well? Public Debt Management in a Two-Party Economy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0053, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Cukierman, A. & Tommasi, M., 1997.
"When Does It Take a Nixon to Go to China,"
30-97, Tel Aviv.
- David Stromberg, 2008. "How the Electoral College Influences Campaigns and Policy: The Probability of Being Florida," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 769-807, June.
- Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-56, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18313. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.