Conceptual Columns

What does the term ‘roving bandit’ mean?

Political science

A term used to explain the incentives for governments that expect to stay in power only for a short period of time. Such governments are unlikely to adopt policies that foster long-term economic success as they would not exist in power to enjoy their benefits. This is in contrast to stationary bandits who expect to stay in power for a longer time — thus increasing the chances of them formulating polices that will bring about economic growth and prosperity. American economist and social scientist Mancur Olson first coined the term for his book Power and Prosperity (2000).

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Printable version | Jun 9, 2022 12:56:41 am |