Petros G. Sekeris 

Principal Lecturer in Economics -  Department of Economics & Finance, Portsmouth Business School - on leave

Associate Professor in Economics - Montpellier Business School

Research interests

Conflict Theory, Economics of Governance, Institutions, Development Economics

Contact information

Petros Sekeris


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  1. The Timing of Contests, Defence and Peace Economics, forthcoming (joint with G. Grandjean)
  2. Self-Containment: Achieving Peace in Anarchic Settings, Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming (joint with  A. Adam)
  3. "Oil Above Water": Economic Interdependence and Third Party Intervention, Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming (joint work with V. Bove and K.S.Gleditsch) - meaning of the title
  4. State Power, State Capacity, and Development, Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy (proceedings), Vol. 21 (4): 553-560.
  5. Growth-Friendly Dictatorships, 2015, Journal of Comparative Economics, 43, p. 98-111 (joint G. De Luca and A. Litina)
  6. U.S. Security Strategy and the Gains from Bilateral Trade, 2014, Review of International Economics, 22(5), p. 863-885 (joint work with V. Bove and L. Elia)
  7. The Tragedy of the Commons in a Violent World, 2014, RAND Journal of Economics, 45(3): 521-532, working paper version
  8. Mineral Resources and Conflict in DRC: a Case of Ecological Fallacy, 2014, Oxford Economic Papers, 66(3): 721-749 (joint with G. De Luca, J-F Maystadt, and J. Ulimwengu)
  9. Deterrence in Contests, 2013, Economica, 80 (317): 171-189 (joint with G. De Luca) working paper version (older title)
  10. Politics and Insurgencies, 2012, Economics and Politics, 24(2): 157-181 (joint with K. Siqueira)
  11. Land Inequality and Conflict Intensity, 2012, Public Choice, 150(1): 119-135 (joint work with G. De Luca)
  12. Endogenous Elites: Power Structure and Patron Client Relationships, 2011, Economics of Governance, 12: 237-258
  13. Land Inequality and Conflict Intensity in Sub-Saharan Africa, 2011, Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy: Vol. 16 (2), Article 10
  14. On the Feasibility of Power and Status Ranking in Traditional Setups, 2010, Journal of Comparative Economics, 38 (3), p 267-282 (joint with J-P Platteau)

Contributions to collective work

1. Sekeris, P.G. (forthcoming). Counter-Elite, in The Sage Encyclopedia of Political Behavior. ed. Fathali M. Moghaddam

Working Papers

Theoretical models on autocracies have long grappled with how to characterize and analyze state sponsorship of repression. Moreover, much of the existing formal literature sees dictators' behavior as determined by one type of opposition actor alone and disregards the potential role played by other types of actors. We develop a contest model of political survival with a ruler, the elite and the opposition, and show how the ruler needs to respond to revolutionary pressures while securing the allegiance of his own supportive coalition. We find that the ruler's reliance on vertical and horizontal repression is antithetically affected by the country's wealth and the optimal bundle of vertical and horizontal repression has important consequences for the regime's political vulnerability. Our hypothesis about the impact of oil on repression is strongly borne out by the empirical results, which are robust to endogeneity concerns.

We propose a model where an autocrat rules over an ethnically divided society. The dictator selects the tax rate over domestic production and the nation's natural resources to maximize his rents under the threat of a regime-switching revolution. We show that a weak ruler may let the country plunge in civil war to increase his personal rents. Inter-group fighting weakens potential opposition to the ruler, thereby allowing him to increase fiscal pressure. We show that the presence of natural resources exacerbates the incentives of the ruler to promote civil confjict for his own profit, especially if the resources are unequally distributed across ethnic groups. We validate the main predictions of the model using cross-country data over the period 1960-2007, and show that our empirical results are not likely to be driven by omitted observable determinants of civil war incidence or by unobservable country-specific heterogeneity.

This article investigates contests when heterogeneous players compete to obtain a share of a prize. We prove the existence and uniqueness of the Nash equilibrium when players have general preference structures. Our results show that many of the standard conclusions obtained in the analysis of contests—such as aggregate effort increasing in the size of the prize and the dissipation ratio invariant to the size of the prize—may no longer hold under a general preference setting. We derive the key conditions on preferences, which involve the rate of change of the marginal rate of substitution between a player’s share of the prize and their effort within the contest, under which these counter-intuitive results may hold. Our approach is able to nest conventional contest analysis—the study of (quasi-)linear preferences—as well as allowing for a much broader class of utility functions, which include both separable and non-separable utility structures.

While folk theorems for dynamic renewable common pool resource games sustain cooperation as an equilibrium, the possibility of reverting to violence to appropriate the resource destroys the incentives to cooperate because of the expectation of conflict when resources are sufficiently depleted. In this paper we show with experimental evidence that agents behave according to the theoretical predictions. For high stocks of resources when conflict is a highly costly activity, participants cooperate less than in the control group, and they play the non-cooperative action with higher frequency. This comes as a consequence of the (correct) anticipation that when resources run low, the conflict option is used by a large share of participants.

We demonstrate that entry in a Common Pool Resource problem may be Pareto-superior, and therefore welcomed by active players already exploiting the common resource. Entry reduces the marginal utility of production effort to the active players, and thereby incentivizes them all to constrain their own production. The resulting reduced levels of externalities eventually leaves all players better off.

This paper exploits the effect of massive refugee flows to the Greek islands on natives' political attitudes. Our results show a significant effect of refugees' presence on xenophobia. The outcome is robust under FE estimates and IV strategies. Furthermore, the particular context of our study and the timing of the elections allow us to dismiss anti-immigration votes being casted for different motives than purely xenophobic reactions.

Work in Progress

  • Violence and Self-Determination: What Drives Secessionists over the Edge? (joint with L. Balcells and S. Flamand)
  • Partial Delegation (joint with Ansgar Wohlschlegel)
  • Cooperation and a Repeated Joint Project (joint with Olivier Dagnelie)

Non-Academic Publications

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