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  Do Rights to Resistance Discipline the Elites? An Experiment on the Threat of Overthrow

Chatziathanasiou, K., Hippel, S., & Kurschilgen, M. (2020). Do Rights to Resistance Discipline the Elites? An Experiment on the Threat of Overthrow.

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 Creators:
Chatziathanasiou, Konstantin1, Author              
Hippel, Svenja1, Author              
Kurschilgen, Michael1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Max Planck Society, ou_2173688              

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Free keywords: rights to resistance; civil resistance; constitutional stability; redistribution; coordination; battle of the sexes; experiment
 JEL: C72 - Noncooperative Games
 JEL: C92 - Laboratory, Group Behavior
 JEL: D74 - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
 JEL: H23 - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
 JEL: P48 - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
 Abstract: The threat of overthrow stabilizes a constitution because it disciplines the elites. This is the main rationale behind rights to resistance. In this paper, we test this conjecture experimentally. We model a society in which players can produce wealth by solving a coordination problem. Coordination is facilitated through a pre-game status-ranking. Compliance with the status hierarchy yields an efficient yet inequitable payoff distribution, in which a player’s wealth is determined by her pre-game status. Between treatments, we vary (a) whether overthrows – which reset the status-ranking via collective disobedience – are possible or not, and (b) whether voluntary redistributive transfers – which high-status players can use to appease the low-status players – are available or not. In contrast to established thinking we find that, on average, the threat of overthrow does not have a stabilizing effect as high-status players fail to provide sufficient redistribution to prevent overthrows. However, if an overthrow brings generous players into high-status positions, groups stabilize and prosper. This suggests an alternative rationale for rights to resistance.

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 Dates: 2020-11-19
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: Bonn : Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Discussion Paper 2020/27
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: Other: 2020/27
 Degree: -

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