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The Killing Game: Reputation and Knowledge in Politics of Succession

Author

Listed:
  • Georgy Egorov

    (New Economic School/CEFIR)

  • Konstantin Sonin

    (New Economic School/CEFIR, & Institute for Advanced Study)

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. The trade-off is analyzed within an infinite-time complete information game. Our theory predicts that we would witness more killings along the succession lines in countries where a ‘circle of potential contenders’ is limited, and that executions of the predecessor are autocorrelated. In particular, with a dynastic rule in place, incentives, to kill the predecessor are much higher than in a non- hereditary dictatorships, e.g. in 19th century Latin America. Our analysis of historical material demonstrates that long succession lines indeed exhibit patterns predicted by our model.

Suggested Citation

  • Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2005. "The Killing Game: Reputation and Knowledge in Politics of Succession," Game Theory and Information 0505003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:0505003
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 37
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    File URL: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de/econ-wp/game/papers/0505/0505003.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2011. "Dictators And Their Viziers: Endogenizing The Loyalty–Competence Trade‐Off," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(5), pages 903-930, October.
    2. Luca Anderlini (Georgetown University), Dino Gerardi (Yale University), Roger Lagunoff (Georgetown University), 2004. "The Folk Theorem in Dynastic Repeated Games," Working Papers gueconwpa~04-04-09, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    3. Lagunoff, Roger, 2006. "Credible communication in dynastic government," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 59-86, January.
    4. Jeffrey C. Ely & Juuso Välimäki, 2003. "Bad Reputation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 785-814.
    5. Acemoglu, Daron, 2003. "Why not a political Coase theorem? Social conflict, commitment, and politics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 620-652, December.
    6. Drew Fudenberg & David M. Kreps & Eric S. Maskin, 1990. "Repeated Games with Long-run and Short-run Players," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(4), pages 555-573.
    7. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2001. "A Theory of Political Transitions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 938-963, September.
    8. Kreps, David M. & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Reputation and imperfect information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 253-279, August.
    9. Roger Lagunoff, 2005. "Markov Equilibrium in Models of Dynamic Endogenous Political Institutions," Game Theory and Information 0501003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    11. Acemoglu, Daron, 2005. "Politics and economics in weak and strong states," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1199-1226, October.
    12. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1982. "Predation, reputation, and entry deterrence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 280-312, August.
    13. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "A Theory of Dynamic Oligopoly, I: Overview and Quantity Competition with Large Fixed Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(3), pages 549-569, May.
    14. Herschel I. Grossman & Suk Jae Noh, 1990. "A Theory Of Kleptocracy With Probabilistic Survival And Reputation," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(2), pages 157-171, July.
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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

    succession; dictatorship;

    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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