Collective Action and Constraints on Repression at the Endgame

Comparative Political Studies, Forthcoming

36 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2017  

Tiberiu Dragu

New York University

Yonatan Lupu

George Washington University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2017

Abstract

How can human rights abuses be prevented or reduced? Using a simple game-theoretic model, we demonstrate that repression can become a coordination game when the potential for abuses is greatest: when dissent against a regime has grown sufficiently powerful. In such scenarios, repression depends on how the leader's agents coordinate on implementing a repression order. If and to the extent agents believe other agents will not comply with an order to repress, leaders can expect agents to disobey orders and will be less likely to order repression. This logic of expectations constitutes a third mechanism for constraining repression, in addition to sanctioning (i.e., the logic of consequences) and normative mechanisms (i.e., the logic of appropriateness). We formally explore how the logic of expectations can constrain the implementation of repression and also show that the logic of expectations has the greatest potential to constrain repression in middle regimes or "anocracies". In turn, this has broader implications for the strategies human rights advocates use in such regimes, how leaders structure their security forces, and for the study of why legal rules might be especially effective in such regimes.

Keywords: repression, human rights, coordination

JEL Classification: D71

Suggested Citation

Dragu, Tiberiu and Lupu, Yonatan, Collective Action and Constraints on Repression at the Endgame (2017). Comparative Political Studies, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2992622 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2992622

Tiberiu Dragu (Contact Author)

New York University ( email )

19 West 4th Street
Office Room Number 220
New York, NY 10012
United States
2129988513 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://wp.nyu.edu/tiberiu_dragu/

Yonatan Lupu

George Washington University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Washington, DC 20052
United States

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