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Dictators, Repression and the Median Citizen: An “Eliminations Model” of Stalin’s Terror (Data from the NKVD Archives)

Paul Gregory, Philipp Schröder and Konstantin Sonin ()

No 6014, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: This paper sheds light on dictatorial behavior as exemplified by the mass terror campaigns of Stalin. Dictatorships - unlike democracies where politicians choose platforms in view of voter preferences - may attempt to trim their constituency and thus ensure regime survival via the large scale elimination of citizens. We formalize this idea in a simple model and use it to examine Stalin’s three large scale terror campaigns with data from the NKVD state archives that are accessible after more than 60 years of secrecy. Our model traces the stylized facts of Stalin’s terror and identifies parameters such as the ability to correctly identify regime enemies, the actual or perceived number of enemies in the population, and how secure the dictator's power base is, as crucial for the patterns and scale of repression.

Keywords: Dictatorial systems; NKVD; OPGU; Soviet State and Party archives; Stalinism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N44 P00 P26 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm and nep-pol
Date: 2006-12
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Related works:
Journal Article: Rational dictators and the killing of innocents: Data from Stalin's archives (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: Dictators, Repression and the Median Citizen: An “Eliminations Model” of Stalin’s Terror (Data from the NKVD Archives) (2006) Downloads
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