Event Details

SpeakerLuz Marina Arias (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas)

Abstract: After the war of independence (1810 – 1821), military competition appears to have been insufficient to bring about political order in Mexico. Even though various military men were strong enough to grab the seat of power, none was able to consolidate his position as ruler. In 1877, Porfi rio Díaz grabbed the presidency. He managed to secure political order and remained in power as dictator for thirty years. How can a coercion specialist secure collaboration from other warlords? This article focuses on the role of coordination (legitimacy) as a source of political power. A game-theoretic analysis demonstrates that, in a context of distributive conflict and decentralized coercive power, once enough power-holders believe that the rest will listen to the leader (coordinator), each is willing to surrender resources and coercive power to the coordinator as a way to commit to ending a costly war of attrition. The theoretical argument builds on and is contrasted with the case of 19th century Mexico. In traditional explanations, military confrontation is necessary for the consolidation of a ruler. The argument here suggests a complementary and perhaps alternative pattern for the emergence of a legitimate and powerful ruler.