Rational Dictators and the Killing of Innocents: Data from Stalin's Archives

9 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2006 Last revised: 1 Apr 2016

Paul R. Gregory

University of Houston - Department of Economics; Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace

Philipp J. H. Schröder

University of Aarhus - Faculty of Business Administration

Konstantin Sonin

University of Chicago - Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies; Higher School of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Date Written: November 1, 2006

Abstract

We posit a rational choice model of dictatorship to explain the tendency of dictators to repress innocent citizens. This model demonstrates that, when the quality of information about regime enemies is low, a rational dictator will knowingly kill and imprison citizens who are not real enemies. We use the formerly secret Stalin archives to test this proposition against the stylized facts of Stalin’s three major repressions.

Keywords: Dictatorial systems, Stalinism, Soviet State and Party archives, NKVD, OPGU

JEL Classification: P00, N44, P26

Suggested Citation

Gregory, Paul R. and Schröder, Philipp J. H. and Sonin, Konstantin, Rational Dictators and the Killing of Innocents: Data from Stalin's Archives (November 1, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=948667 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.948667

Paul R. Gregory

University of Houston - Department of Economics ( email )

Houston, TX 77204-5882
United States
713-743-3828 (Phone)
713-661-1968 (Fax)

Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States

Philipp J. H. Schröder

University of Aarhus - Faculty of Business Administration ( email )

Haslegaardsvej 10
DK-8210 Aarhus, 8210
Denmark

Konstantin Sonin (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Higher School of Economics ( email )

20 Myasnitskaya street
Moscow, 119017
Russia

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

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