Coalition Formation in Non-Democracies

Review of Economic Studies (Impact Factor: 2.81). 10/2008; 75(4):987-1009. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-937X.2008.00503.x
Source: RePEc


We study the formation of a ruling coalition in non-democratic societies where institutions do not enable political commitments. Each individual is endowed with a level of political power. The ruling coalition consists of a subset of the individuals in the society and decides the distribution of resources. A ruling coalition needs to contain enough powerful members to win against any alternative coalition that may challenge it, and it needs to be self-enforcing, in the sense that none of its subcoalitions should be able to secede and become the new ruling coalition. We present both an axiomatic approach that captures these notions and determines a (generically) unique ruling coalition and the analysis of a dynamic game of coalition formation that encompasses these ideas. We establish that the subgame-perfect equilibria of the coalition formation game coincide with the set of ruling coalitions resulting from the axiomatic approach. A key insight of our analysis is that a coalition is made self-enforcing by the failure of its winning subcoalitions to be self-enforcing. This is most simply illustrated by the following example: with "majority rule", two-person coalitions are generically not self-enforcing and consequently, three-person coalitions are self-enforcing (unless one player is disproportionately powerful). We also characterize the structure of ruling coalitions. For example, we determine the conditions under which ruling coalitions are robust to small changes in the distribution of power and when they are fragile. We also show that when the distribution of power across individuals is relatively equal and there is majoritarian voting, only certain sizes of coalitions ("e.g. "with majority rule, coalitions of size 1, 3, 7, 15, etc.) can be the ruling coalition. Copyright © 2008 The Review of Economic Studies Limited.

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    • "The main contributions of this work can be listed as follows: • Proposed a distributed algorithm based on a political coalition formation game for network sum-rate maximizing multi-relay selection. • Designed a iterative/non-recursive algorithm for ultimate ruling coalition mapping, as opposed to the recursive algorithm in [21], and characterized its computational complexity. • Designed an algorithm with linear complexity to eliminate redundant relays to speed-up the convergence of the proposed distributed algorithm. "
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    • "In this respect, our work substantially differs from Acemoglu and Robinson (2008) who explicitly address the question of regime persistence, and is closer related to work on ongoing internal struggles for power, see Powell (2013) for a recent example. The analysis builds on the work by Acemoglu et al. (2008a) who consider the problem of coalition formation in situations where binding agreements among different groups or parties cannot be made, since no party can commit not to eliminate other parties from the ruling coalition in the future. Our model explicitly deals with the concrete problem of coalition formation among distinct groups that represent differently endowed segments of the population and struggle for the redistribution of factor incomes in weakly institutionalized environments. "
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