Journal Article

The Control of Politicians in Divided Societies: The Politics of Fear

Gerard Padró i Miquel

in The Review of Economic Studies

Published on behalf of Review of Economic Studies Ltd

Volume 74, issue 4, pages 1259-1274
Published in print October 2007 | ISSN: 0034-6527
Published online October 2007 | e-ISSN: 1467-937X | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2007.00455.x
The Control of Politicians in Divided Societies: The Politics of Fear

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  • Economic Development
  • Analysis of Collective Decision-making

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Autocrats in many developing countries have extracted enormous personal rents from power. In addition, they have imposed inefficient policies including pervasive patronage spending. I present a model in which the presence of ethnic identities and the absence of institutionalized succession processes allow the ruler to elicit support from a sizeable share of the population despite large reductions in welfare. The fear of falling under an equally inefficient and venal ruler that favours another group is enough to discipline supporters. The model predicts extensive use of patronage, ethnic bias in taxation, and spending patterns and unveils a new mechanism through which economic frictions translate into increased rent extraction by the leader. These predictions are consistent with the experiences of bad governance, ethnic bias, wasteful policies, and kleptocracy in post-colonial Africa.

Keywords: D72; O17

Journal Article.  8625 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development ; Analysis of Collective Decision-making

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