A Theory of Why the Ruthless Revolt

22 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2016

See all articles by Joshua R. Hendrickson

Joshua R. Hendrickson

University of Mississippi; American Institute for Economic Research

Alexander William Salter

Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business; American Institute for Economic Research

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2016

Abstract

We examine whether ruthless members of society are more likely to revolt against an existing government. The decision of whether to participate can be analyzed in the same way as the decision to exercise an option. We consider this decision when there are two groups in society: the ruthless and average citizens. We assume that the ruthless differ from the average citizens because they invest in fighting technology and therefore face a lower cost of participation. The participation decision then captures two important (and conflicting) incentives. The first is that, since participation is costly, there is value in waiting to participate. The second is that there is value in being the first mover and capturing a greater share of the “spoils of war” if the revolution is successful. Our model generates the following implications. First, since participation is costly, there is some positive threshold for the net benefit that must be met before any individual decides to participate. Second, if the ruthless do not have a significant cost advantage, then one cannot predict, a priori, that the ruthless lead the revolt. Third, when the ruthless have a significant cost advantage, they have a lower threshold and always enter the conflict first. Finally, existing regimes can delay revolution among one or both groups by increasing the cost of participation.

Suggested Citation

Hendrickson, Joshua R. and Salter, Alexander William, A Theory of Why the Ruthless Revolt (November 2016). Economics & Politics, Vol. 28, Issue 3, pp. 295-316, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2846189 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecpo.12079

Joshua R. Hendrickson (Contact Author)

University of Mississippi ( email )

Oxford, MS 38677
United States

American Institute for Economic Research

PO Box 1000
Great Barrington, MA 01230
United States

Alexander William Salter

Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business ( email )

Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

HOME PAGE: http://awsalter.com

American Institute for Economic Research

PO Box 1000
Great Barrington, MA 01230
United States

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