Leadership, Prisoners' Dilemmas, and Politics
23 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2015
Date Written: 2005
Prisoners’ dilemmas that exist in politics often allow leaders to benefit themselves through political actions harmful to their group’s interest. We develop a dynamic prisoners’ dilemma based on political competition, with the choices being to lobby (non cooperative choice) or not to lobby (the cooperative choice) for political privileges. Considering each interval in isolation, lobbying is the dominant choice even though the members of a group would be better off over time not lobbying regardless of what other groups do. However, it is almost always in the interest of group leaders to lobby for government benefits, and they can use prisoners’ dilemmas to “justify” that lobbying even when it is destructive to their members’ interest. We provide several examples that support the theoretical argument.
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