Published Papers

Besley, Timothy, and James A Robinson. 2010. “Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Civilian Control over the Military.” Journal of the European Economic Association 8 (2-3): 655–663. Abstract
The question of who guards the guards is intimately connected with broader questions of state capacity and the establishment of a monopoly of violence in society, something which is often viewed as the defining feature of the modern state. But to establish such a monopoly, civilian rulers need not only to build an effective military, but also to control it. In this paper we study how governments may solve this problem when they recognize that their decisions to build a strong army may have ramifications for subsequent coups.