Whenever we look at violent, underdeveloped nations, we often have two
 responses to their condition:

 1. They have a preference for institutions that restrain peace, growth and
 development. Example: "Middle Eastern people are poor because people have
 a taste for big, bad government."

 2. They are stuck in a sub-optimal equilibrium. People realize the status
 quo is bad, but the incentives are to stay. Example: "Ethnic conflict in
 Somalia/Bosnia/etc. won't stop because if either side stopped, the other
 side would take advantage"

 Is there any systematic evidence for one explanation over the other?


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