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Extermination as a substitute for assimilation or deportation: an economic approach

Mario Ferrero

POLIS Working Papers from Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS

Abstract: This paper places genocide or mass murder in a continuum of actions that a ruling power can take to remove an unwanted group from a society; that is, it views extermination as a means to an end, and it assumes that perpetrators are rational in the sense that they will choose the combination of means that can achieve the goal at the minimum cost to themselves. The means are assimilation into the general society, physical removal from view (which may involve either deportation within the country or exile from the country), and extermination. The available options and their costs will depend on the type of group, viz.: ethnic/national/racial, religious, income/property class, political. After developing the theoretical framework, the paper surveys a range of historical case studies from different types of group and finds good support for the cost-minimization hypothesis. In particular, it finds that in most cases the choice of means is an interior solution, as the hypothesis would lead one to expect, and that the chosen combination shifts as relative costs change.

Keywords: extermination; exile; deportation; assimilation; cost minimization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D74 F51 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 28 pages
Date: 2013-11
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