Rational Dictators and the Killing of Innocents: Data from Stalin's Archives
Paul R. Gregory
University of Houston - Department of Economics; Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace
Philipp J. H. Schröder
University of Aarhus - Faculty of Business Administration
University of Chicago - Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies; Higher School of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
November 1, 2006
We posit a rational choice model of dictatorship to explain the tendency of dictators to repress innocent citizens. This model demonstrates that, when the quality of information about regime enemies is low, a rational dictator will knowingly kill and imprison citizens who are not real enemies. We use the formerly secret Stalin archives to test this proposition against the stylized facts of Stalin’s three major repressions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 9
Keywords: Dictatorial systems, Stalinism, Soviet State and Party archives, NKVD, OPGU
JEL Classification: P00, N44, P26
Date posted: December 4, 2006 ; Last revised: April 1, 2016
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