Essays on Political Economy and Conflict Theory

  • Giacomo Davide De Luca

Student thesis: Doc typesDocteur en Sciences économiques et de gestion


In the first paper I study the incentives for electoral registration in a system in which registration is costly. I argue that, if some more powerful agents in the society can condition the voting behavior of part of the electorate, then more easily controlled voters are also more likely to be registered. This allows the powerful agents to have a large impact on election results, as the share of actual votes controlled is increased through strategic registration. I show with the help of a theoretical model that reducing the control on votes (for instance with the adoption of a secret ballot) only partially reduces the bias in registration, as scarcely motivated voters will be always easy to control. I test the predictions of the model by examining in detail the effects of the introduction of the secret ballot in Chile in 1958. The second paper, coauthored with my colleague Petros Sekeris, investi- gates the impact of land inequality on conflict intensity. We analyze how land inequality across landlords influences the intensity of the fight against a rebel group constituted by landless individuals. We show that conflict intensity is non-monotonic in land inequality. In particular, the most severe conflicts occur for intermediate land inequality levels. Moreover, under certain condition we show that a Pareto improving transfer of land from the smaller to the larger landlord exists. Finally, the third paper also coauthored with Petros Sekeris, explores the existence of deterrence equilibria in a general equilibrium model of “guns and butter” production. In this class of model two agents choose how to allocate their initial endowment between the production of consumables and weapons in the first period of the game and whether to engage in war in the second period. The standard result in the literature is that war is the only equilibrium of the game. We show that, if fighting entails sufficiently low destruction, indeed war is the unique equilibrium of the game. If, however, conflict generates sufficiently large damages, agents start to adopt an alternative strategy: they arm to deter their opponent from war. As a consequence, only mixed strategy equilibria survive, in which players randomize over their deterrence and war strategies. In this latter case, peace occurs with positive probability.
la date de réponse3 sept. 2009
langue originaleFrançais
L'institution diplômante
  • Universite de Namur
SuperviseurJean-Marie Baland (Promoteur), Eric Toulemonde (Président), Jean-Philippe Platteau (Jury), Juan Maria Esteban (Jury) & Ragnar Torvik (Jury)


  • Political economy
  • deterrence
  • power
  • land
  • conflict

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