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Ben Jones

Ben Jones

Associate Professor

Management & Strategy

Ph.D., MIT, 2003
M.Phil., Oxford University, 1997
BSE, Princeton University, 1995


Hit or Miss? The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War
with Ben Olken

Abstract: Assassinations are a persistent feature of the political landscape. Using a new data set of assassination attempts on all world leaders from 1875 to 2004, we exploit inherent randomness in the success or failure of assassination attempts to identify assassination’s
effects. We find that, on average, successful assassinations of autocrats produce sustained moves toward democracy. We also find that assassinations affect the intensity of smallscale conflicts. The results document a contemporary source of institutional change, inform theories of conflict, and show that small sources of randomness can have a pronounced effect on history.

Paper (.pdf)






©2001 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University