April 2008

IZA DP No. 3460: Shall We Kill or Enslave Caesar? Analyzing the Caesar Model

published in: Advances in Group Processes, 2008, 25, 327-343

When a society overthrows a ruler – call the ruler Caesar – what determines whether Caesar is killed or enslaved? This paper presents a model of killing versus enslaving Caesar, based on a new theory which unifies justice, status, and power. The model pertains to societies which value ordinal goods like bravery, yielding predictions for three of the five types of societies – justice-nonmaterialistic, status, and power-nonmaterialistic. Results cover members’ gains, effects of own rank and group size, and relative gains from killing or enslaving Caesar. Further results suggest that Caesar will be killed only in a justice-nonmaterialistic society, and from the noblest of motives – to achieve equal gains for members.