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The Killing Game: Reputation and Knowledge in Politics of Succession

  • Georgy Egorov

    (New Economic School/CEFIR)

  • Konstantin Sonin

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

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.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Game Theory and Information with number 0505003.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 06 May 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:0505003
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 37
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. D. Fudenberg & D. M. Kreps & E. Maskin, 1998. "Repeated Games with Long-run and Short-run Players," Levine's Working Paper Archive 608, David K. Levine.
  2. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 1999. "A Theory of Political Transitions," CEPR Discussion Papers 2277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Jeffrey C. Ely & Juuso Välimäki, 2003. "Bad Reputation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 785-814, August.
  4. 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.
  5. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1982. "Predation, reputation, and entry deterrence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 280-312, August.
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  7. Roger Lagunoff (Georgetown University), 2005. "Markov Equilibrium in Models of Dynamic Endogenous Political Institutions," Working Papers gueconwpa~05-05-07, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  8. Luca Anderlini & Dino Gerardi & Roger Lagunoff, 2004. "The Folk Theorem in Dynastic Repeated Games," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000577, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2010. "A Theory of Dynamic Oligopoly, 1: Overview and Quantity Competition with Large Fixed Costs," Levine's Working Paper Archive 397, David K. Levine.
  10. Lagunoff, Roger, 2006. "Credible communication in dynastic government," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 59-86, January.
  11. 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.
  12. Daron Acemoglu, 2005. "Politics and Economics in Weak and Strong States," NBER Working Papers 11275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1999. "Reputation and Imperfect Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 238, David K. Levine.
  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, 07.
  15. Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2005. "Dictators and Their Viziers: Agency Problems in Dictatorships," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp735, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
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