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Enrique FATAS (Loughborough University & University of Pennsylvania) – “Democracy fights in darkness"

October 30, 2018 @ 12:15 pm - 1:30 pm
Experimental Economics Seminar:
Time: 12:15 pm – 1:30 pm
Date: 30th of October 2018
Place: Room 3001.
Enrique FATAS (Loughborough University & University of Pennsylvania) – “Democracy fights in darkness”, joint work with Jordi Brandts (Instituto de Analysis Economico & Barcelona Graduate School of Economics), Catherine Eckel (Texas A&M University), and Shaun Hargreaves Heap (King’s College London).

Abstract: It is an empirical regularity that democratic countries go to war with each other less than pairs of dictatorships (the so called dyadic interaction). The question is whether this relation is causal: do democracies make wars less likely? In Experiment 1, we study potential causal mechanisms: voting accountability and the emergence of norms of peaceful conflict resolution. Democratic or dictatorial conditions are first exogenously imposed on distinct groups of participants. Groups are then paired, and play a Tullock conflict game with each other. Our measure of a group’s bellicosity is their investment in this conflict, decided by voters (the dictator) in democratic (non-democratic) regimes. As in a final stage, participants decide how much to contribute to a public good from the resources not invested in conflict. We find no evidence of either causal mechanism linking democracies to peace, as democracies fight other democracies are significantly more bellicose than non-democratic regimes. Similar results are obtained when we repeat the analysis for asymmetric interactions of democratic and non-democratic regimes in Experiment 2 (the monadic interaction. In Experiments 3 and 4, we expand our definition of democratic institutions by adding a deliberation stage, giving full freedom of expression to all participants (in both democratic and non-democratic regimes). While deliberation dramatically reduces bellicosity (and increases contributions to the public good) in democratic regimes, it significantly increases investment in conflict in inclusive dictatorships.

Guillaume Hollard (CREST) & Anett John (CREST)
Lunch registration:
food provided, no registration