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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Jeffrey Ely & Jusso Valimaki, 2002. "Bad Reputation," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 391749000000000514, www.najecon.org.
    • Jeffrey C. Ely & Juuso Valimaki, 2002. "Bad Reputation," Discussion Papers 1348, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Acemoglu, Daron, 2005. "Politics and economics in weak and strong states," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1199-1226, October.
  5. Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2005. "Dictators and Their Viziers: Agency Problems in Dictatorships," Economics Working Papers 0053, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  6. Roger Lagunoff, 2005. "Markov Equilibrium in Models of Dynamic Endogenous Political Institutions," Game Theory and Information 0501003, EconWPA.
  7. Fudenberg, Drew & Kreps, David M & Maskin, Eric S, 1990. "Repeated Games with Long-run and Short-run Players," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(4), pages 555-73, October.
  8. 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.
  9. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1999. "Reputation and Imperfect Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 238, David K. Levine.
  10. Maria Gallego & Carolyn Pitchik, 1999. "An Economic Theory of Leadership Turnover," Working Papers pitchik-99-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  11. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1997. "Predation, reputation , and entry deterrence," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1460, David K. Levine.
  12. 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.
  13. Roger Lagunoff, 2002. "Credible Communication in Dynastic Government," Working Papers gueconwpa~02-02-04, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  14. Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson, 1999. "A Theory of Political Transitions," Working papers 99-26, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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