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  Does the threat of overthrow discipline the elites? Evidence from a laboratory experiment

Chatziathanasiou, K., Hippel, S., & Kurschilgen, M. (2020). Does the threat of overthrow discipline the elites? Evidence from a laboratory experiment.

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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: redistribution; franchise extension; revolution; elite behavior; 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 revolution disciplines the elites, inducing them to strategically share some of their wealth in order to prevent social unrest. This behavioral conjecture is prominently used to explain franchise extension and welfare state expansion. We test this conjecture in a controlled laboratory experiment. We model a society whose members can produce wealth by coordinating conflicting interests. Coordination is facilitated through a status-ranking. Compliance with the ranking yields an efficient yet inequitable payoff distribution. 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 low-status players – are available or not. In contrast to established thinking, we find that, on average, the threat of being overthrown does not lead to more wealth-sharing as high-status players fail to provide sufficient redistribution to prevent overthrows.

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 Dates: 2022-022020-11-19
 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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