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What shall we do with the bad dictator?

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  • Tim Willems
  • Shaun Larcom
  • Mare Sarr

Abstract

Recently, the international community has increased its commitment to prosecute malicious dictators - for example by establishing the International Criminal Court. This has raised the international community's loss associated with being time-inconsistent (i.e.: granting amnesties ex post), the idea being that a reduced prospect of amnesty deters dictators from committing atrocities ex ante. Simultaneously, however, this elects dictators of a worse type. Moreover, when the costs of being time-inconsistent are lower than those associated with keeping the dictator in place, the international community will still grant amnesty - thereby making the effective punishment function non-monotonic. Consequently, increased commitment to ex post punishment may actually induce dictators to worsen their behaviour, purely to "unlock" the amnesty option by forcing the international community into time-inconsistency.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:671
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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/12898/paper671.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Tim Willems & Shaun Larcom & Mare Sarr, 2014. "Dictators Walking the Mogadishu Line: How Men Become Monsters and Monsters Become Men," Economics Series Working Papers 701, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    dictatorship; time-inconsistency; International Criminal Court; amnesty; institutions;

    JEL classification:

    • F55 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Institutional Arrangements
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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