The Propensity to Truck, Barter and [Impede] Exchange




Shamoun, Dima Yazji

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This dissertation is composed of four main parts. The first part, titled "Democracy: the Unknown Ordeal," addresses the dilemma of political leaders seeking to obtain and maintain power. Economists and political scientists have been studying what governs political behavior across polities for many years. How do leaders capture power? How do leaders maintain power? How can their power be restrained? Can the interests of leaders be aligned with those of the citizenry? This paper analyzes the political models developed by Mancur Olson, and Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith. While Olson remains a very influential figure for his analysis of stationary and roving bandits, his model fails to explain the nature of democracy in the United States. Building on the work of Bueno de Mesquita and Smith, I integrate their evolutionary model of politics with Olson's insight to explain the institutional structure of the American democracy and the political characteristics selected for in such an environment. I examine how coalitions are satisfied outside of the private and public goods dichotomy, and how the dis-coordination between the goals of the People, the politicians, and the parties is embedded in the political institution itself.



Economics, Political Science, Bootleggers and Baptists, Democracy, Economic growth, Political Institutions, Regulation