What is the incentive of the Pakistani government to catch terrorists and hoe does it depend on how democratic the government is?

A democratic leader’s incentives are driven by the desire to get re-elected.  Suppose voters vote retrospectively – that is they are backward looking and punish the leader for bad performance.  (This can be made forward-looking by adding some story about political competence revealed  by performance.)

If terrorism adversely affects the “voters” but voting is not occurring as the country is a dictatorship, it’s optimal for the U.S. to promote democratization.  A leader motivated by re-election has better incentives  to reduce terrorism.  But if terrorists are supported by the median voter, there is no incentive to promote democratization.  In fact, if the dictator is threatened by terrorists, it is better to have a dictator in place.

So, a realist perspective suggests only partial support for spreading democracy.  The “model” above is very simple  but would already suggest checking the preferences of the average voter before pursuing democratization.  Hamas anyone?

This is only a sketch but there are alkso sorts of more subtle incentive issues that come out of it.  Future posts.  Maybe Jeff can get in on the game?

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