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Dictators and Their Viziers: Agency Problems in Dictatorships

Georgy Egorov () and Konstantin Sonin ()

No wp735, William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series from William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan

Abstract: The possibility of treason by a close associate has been a nightmare of most dictators throughout history. Better informed viziers are also better able to discriminate among potential plotters, and this makes them more risky subordinates for the dictator. To avoid this, dictators, especially which are weak and vulnerable, sacri.ce the competence of their agents, hiring mediocre but loyal subordinates. One reason why democracies generally witness more talented people in the government is the dictator.s inability to commit to the optimal (less than the capital) punishment for those who unsuccessfully plotted to remove him from power. Furthermore, any use of incentive schemes by a dictator is limited by the fact that rewards are conditional on dictator.s own willingness to keep his promises, while punishments are conditional on dictator.s own survival. We model a principalagent game between a dictator and his (probably, few) viziers both in static and dynamic perspectives. The dynamic model allows us to focus on the succession problem the insecure dictators face.

Keywords: dictatorship; formal political theory; principal-agent theory; institutions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mic, nep-pol and nep-tra
Date: 2005-01-01
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http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/40121/3/wp735.pdf

Related works:
Journal Article: DICTATORS AND THEIR VIZIERS: ENDOGENIZING THE LOYALTY–COMPETENCE TRADE‐OFF (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: Dictators and Their Viziers: Agency Problems in Dictatorships (2005) Downloads
Working Paper: Dictators and Their Viziers: Agency Problems in Dictatorships (2004) Downloads
Working Paper: Dictators and Their Viziers: Agency Problems in Dictatorships (2004) Downloads
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