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What Shall We Do with the Bad Dictator?

University of Oxford Department of Economics Discussion Paper No. 682

31 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2014  

Shaun Larcom

University of Cambridge

Mare Sarr

University of Cape Town - School of Economics

Tim Willems

University of Oxford - Nuffield College

Date Written: January 19, 2014

Abstract

Recently, the international community has increased its commitment to prosecute malicious dictators by establishing the International Criminal Court, thereby raising its loss of being time-inconsistent (granting amnesties ex post). This deters dictators from committing atrocities. Simultaneously, however, such commitment selects dictators of a worse type. Moreover, when the dictator behaves so badly that the costs of keeping him in place are considered to be greater than those of being time-inconsistent, the international community will still grant amnesty. Consequently, increased commitment to ex post punishment may actually induce dictators to worsen their behaviour, purely to "unlock" the amnesty option and force the international community into time-inconsistency.

Keywords: Dictatorship, Time-consistency, International Criminal Court, Amnesty, Institutions

JEL Classification: F55, K14, O12

Suggested Citation

Larcom, Shaun and Sarr, Mare and Willems, Tim, What Shall We Do with the Bad Dictator? (January 19, 2014). University of Oxford Department of Economics Discussion Paper No. 682. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2381429 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2381429

Shaun Larcom

University of Cambridge ( email )

Trinity Ln
Cambridge, CB2 1TN
United Kingdom

Mare Sarr

University of Cape Town - School of Economics ( email )

Private Bag X3
Rondebosch, Cape Town 7701
South Africa
+27 (0)21 650 2982 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/sarrmare/

Tim Willems (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Nuffield College ( email )

New Road
Oxford, OX1 1NF
United Kingdom

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