The Logic of Political Survival

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The authors of this ambitious book address a fundamental political question: why are leaders who produce peace and prosperity turned out of office while those who preside over corruption, war, and misery endure? Considering this political puzzle, they also answer the related economic question of why some countries experience successful economic development and others do not. The authors construct a provocative theory on the selection of leaders and present specific formal models from which their central claims can be deduced. They show how political leaders allocate resources and how institutions for selecting leaders create incentives for leaders to pursue good and bad public policy. They also extend the model to explain the consequences of war on political survival. Throughout the book, they provide illustrations from history, ranging from ancient Sparta to Vichy France, and test the model against statistics gathered from cross-national data. The authors explain the political intuition underlying their theory in nontechnical language, reserving formal proofs for chapter appendixes. They conclude by presenting policy prescriptions based on what has been demonstrated theoretically and empirically.
 

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Contents

Preface
Part II 12
Challenges to Political Survival 26
The Selectorate S 41
Illustrative Examples of Small Restrictive Winning Coalitions 55
What Is Missing from Our Theory 74
Alternative Equilibrium 90
Bridging from Theory to Testable Hypotheses 104
Conclusion 263
Survival as Explained by the Selectorate Theory 276
Empirical Assessment of Political Survival 292
Extrapolitical Risks of Deposition 311
Change from Within 329
Political Actions to Alter Institutions 354
Actions by Coalition Members 382
Constructing Autocracy 400

Institutions for Kleptocracy or Growth 129
Labor or Leisure 143
Government Expenditures Expenditures Per Capita and Opportunities 161
Core Public Goods 179
Public Goods Summary 198
Empirical Assessment of the Provision of Private Goods 200
Conclusion 213
Structure of the Dyadic Selectorate Game 226
Interaction of Polities 243
The AngloSoviet Invasion of Iran 424
Leadership Removal 439
Franco Mussolini and the Enemy Within 454
What Can Be Done? 483
References 503
Index 519
Affinity 60
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About the author (2005)

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is Professor of Politics at New York University and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Alastair Smith is Associate Professor in the Department of Politics at New York University.

Randolph M. Siverson is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis.

James D. Morrow is Professor of Political Science and Senior Research Scientist at the University of Michigan.

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