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What shall we do with the bad dictator?

Tim Willems, Shaun Larcom and Mare Sarr ()

No 671, Economics Series Working Papers from University of Oxford, Department of Economics

Abstract: Recently, the international community has increased its commitment to prosecute malicious dictators - for example by establishing the International Criminal Court. This has raised the international community's loss associated with being time-inconsistent (i.e.: granting amnesties ex post), the idea being that a reduced prospect of amnesty deters dictators from committing atrocities ex ante. Simultaneously, however, this elects dictators of a worse type. Moreover, when the costs of being time-inconsistent are lower than those associated with keeping the dictator in place, the international community will still grant amnesty - thereby making the effective punishment function non-monotonic. Consequently, increased commitment to ex post punishment may actually induce dictators to worsen their behaviour, purely to "unlock" the amnesty option by forcing the international community into time-inconsistency.

Keywords: dictatorship; time-inconsistency; International Criminal Court; amnesty; institutions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F55 K14 O12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013-09-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-law
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