(Friday, 25th May 2012)
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Recent developments in the economics of institutions have improved our understanding of the endogenous emergence, and of the survival of political regimes (Acemoglu and Robinson 2006, Besley and Persson 2010, 2011). Yet, while the traditional approach conceptualizes a dichotomous world that opposes powerful elites and the rest of the population, more recent research opens-up the black-box of the body of elites and provides us with a finer analysis the endogenous evolution of regimes.
Recent contributions have scrutinized the role of the military as distinct actors in the political processes of polities. Hence, while coercion may constitute the backbone of some regimes, the fundamental question of ``who guards the guards'' (Besley and Robinson, 2010) has brought new theories of institutions to the shore (Acemoglu et al. 2010 a,b). This workshop will present the state of the art research on this new wave of political economy models that accommodate for the inclusion of violent actors. In light of the recent turmoil experienced in the wider Middle Eastern countries, or what has come to be known as the Arab Spring, novel research ideas will be proposed.