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A Game-Theoretic Analysis of Baad

11 Pages Posted: 29 Feb 2012  

Bryan C. McCannon

West Virginia University - College of Business & Economics

Date Written: February 28, 2012


The institution known as baad is an mechanism used typically in criminal justice systems of Pashtun societies. In baad the family of a harmed individual abducts a young girl from the family of the one who caused the harm. The abducted girls are typically treated very poorly and held against their will. Consequently, outrage over this cultural institution has arisen. I use the tools of game theory to assess the hypothesis that such an institution exists only because men in the society place a low value on women. The model shows, though, that baad arises only when, from the perspective of heads of households, women have intermediate values. If they are valued too highly, the threat deters all activity and baad abductions never occur. If they are valued too low, the abduction is found insufficient by the aggrieved and alternative punishment are sought. The model is able to identify the factors that contribute to the prevalence of the institution as well.

Keywords: baad, criminal justice, institutional economics

JEL Classification: K14, D63, C72

Suggested Citation

McCannon, Bryan C., A Game-Theoretic Analysis of Baad (February 28, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Bryan C. McCannon (Contact Author)

West Virginia University - College of Business & Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 6025
Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

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