Bruce Bueno de Mesquita on the Political Economy of Power
Aug 14 2006

Russ Roberts talks with Hoover Institution and NYU political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita about his theory of political power--how dictators and democratically elected leaders respond to the political forces that keep them in office. This lengthy and intense conversation covers a wide range of topics including the evil political genius of Lenin, the dark side of US foreign aid, the sinister machinations of King Leopold of Belgium, the natural resource curse, the British monarchy in the 11th century, term limits and the inevitable failure of the standard methods of fighting world poverty.

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita on Democracies and Dictatorships
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita of NYU and Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks about the incentives facing dictators and democratic leaders. Both have to face competition from rivals. Both try to please their constituents and cronies to stay in power. He...
Paul Collier on Democracy and Violence
Paul Collier of Oxford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his new book, Wars, Guns, and Votes, a study of democracy and violence. Collier lays out the incentives facing a dictator who is considering the...
Explore audio transcript, further reading that will help you delve deeper into this week’s episode, and vigorous conversations in the form of our comments section below.


Aug 17 2006 at 6:54am

Don’t miss these insightful comments

  • Brian Micklethwait on King Leopold II of Belgium, at

  • Lars Smith on foreign aid at Conservation Finance

    –Econlib Editor, taking note of some of the best of trackbacks and comments on other websites

  • sa
    Aug 21 2006 at 9:17am

    this was an excellent podcast. loved it.

    Stuart Berman
    Aug 22 2006 at 10:16pm

    Very insightful podcast. There is so much thought provoking content it needs to be listened to several times especially when considering how this theory could be applied to foreign policy.

    Arnold Kriegbaum
    Aug 27 2006 at 11:38am

    This is riveting. This is why I wade through a couple dozen podcasts, because I every so often am shown a kernal of new insight that changes my thinking about how the world works.

    By the end, Russ seems rather depressed about the implications for humanity, as if being reminded of a high school date that went very badly. Still, I would bet that while the coalitions of control etc. are not new ideas to economists, they were very new to me.

    Thank you for this excellent podcast, which proves that there is huge value in all the energy put into this computer stuff.

    Isaac Crawford
    Sep 4 2006 at 10:43am

    A great podcast. Thought provoking and gave me a new way of thinking about things. Studying political economy is one of the surest ways to make one cynical and/or libertarian minded. Thanks for the great info!


    Erik Guffy
    Sep 5 2006 at 7:23pm

    Fascinating podcast. Cheers to Roberts and Bueno de Mesquita.

    Comments are closed.