Designing Political Order

Current draft:

With Scott F Abramson and Emiel Awad.

Download the paper here.

Abstract. Social scientists and political philosophers widely believe that the foundations of political order rest upon the existence of a sovereign agent endowed with a monopoly of coercive force. In this paper, we develop a formal model of anarchic competition and show that whenever it is possible to construct a peaceful political order based upon a monopoly of force, it is also possible to construct one where multiple agents maintain coercive abilities. What is more, we show that peaceful orders with multiple violence specialists generally require lower coercive investments than peaceful orders with a single violence specialist. This undercuts the notion that monopolistic domestic politics are inherently more efficient than the a competitive international system. Nevertheless, we identify why inefficient monopolies of violence might persist — any individual agent’s payoff is maximized when she serves as a monopolist that invests more in coercion than is strictly necessary to maintain peace.