Food Crises, Urban Development, and Mass Killing in Nondemocratic States

  • Bumba MukherjeeEmail author
  • Ore Koren


This chapter is devoted to developing the book’s theoretical story. It first discusses the foundations of the game-theoretic framework and model that we employ to explain when incumbents in nondemocratic states will strategically seek to target civilians in killing campaigns. To this end, the chapter starts with a detailed overview of the two key actors in the theory that we develop: the ruling elite and the citizens residing in this nondemocratic polity. We also describe the economic and political context under which these two sets of actors strategically interact with each other. Our model analyzes how the outbreak of a food crisis that results from high food price volatility generates political contestation between citizens and the ruling elite in nondemocracies. We discuss in great depth the main arguments of our theory to explain how and why such political contestation interacts with existing levels of concentrated urban development to incentivize the ruling elite to resort to mass killing against its citizens. We rely on this model to derive our main hypothesis and its two corollaries.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political SciencePennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceIndiana University BloomingtonBloomingtonUSA

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