Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/230982
Authors: 
Chatziathanasiou, Konstantin
Hippel, Svenja
Kurschilgen, Michael
Year of Publication: 
2020
Series/Report no.: 
Discussion Papers of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods No. 2020/27
Abstract: 
The threat of overthrow stabilizes a constitution because it disciplines the elites. This is the main rationale behind rights to resistance. In this paper, we test this conjecture experimentally. We model a society in which players can produce wealth by solving a coordination problem. Coordination is facilitated through a pre-game status-ranking. Compliance with the status hierarchy yields an efficient yet inequitable payoff distribution, in which a player's wealth is determined by her pre-game status. 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 the low-status players - are available or not. In contrast to established thinking we find that, on average, the threat of overthrow does not have a stabilizing effect as high-status players fail to provide sufficient redistribution to prevent overthrows. However, if an overthrow brings generous players into high-status positions, groups stabilize and prosper. This suggests an alternative rationale for rights to resistance.
Subjects: 
rights to resistance
civil resistance
constitutional stability
redistribution
coordination
battle of the sexes
experiment
JEL: 
C72
C92
D74
H23
P48
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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