The role of identity and authority from anarchy to order: Insights from modelling the trajectory of duelling in Europe

Mehrdad Vahabi, Behrooz Hassani Mahmooei

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Abstract

The economics literature usually assumes order in terms of a Weberian state with monopoly over the means of violence. In this paper, we study historical situations in which such an order is absent and violent conflict namely duel of honor is an institution. Anarchy or the absence of state rules in managing violence does not imply the absence of private rules and arrangements (such as codes of dueling). Our focus is on the possible ways that a Weberian order can emerge from anarchy. We endeavor to capture this transition by introducing a computational model in which a simulated agent represents a social individual who considers both economic and political factors and interacts with other individuals as well as institutions to make a decision. We then use the trajectory of dueling in England, France, and Germany to validate our approach. The paper demonstrates how a complex, aggregative historical process over three centuries may be consistently explained on the basis of rational choices among heterogeneous agents conditioned by their group identity and State authority.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57 - 72
Number of pages16
JournalEconomic Modelling
Volume55
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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