The ultimate coercive sanction

HRAF Press New Haven, CT Published In Pages: 1-164
By Otterbein, Keith F.


"Despotic" states are likely to be younger than "mature" states (p. 79)


The author identifies states as "despotic" when "torture was used to obtain confessions and/or to make death more painful"(p. 78), and "mature" when "few crimes (four or less) led to execution, if there were few (two or less) means of executing, and if there were no data describing torture" (p.78). Twelve states were identified, seven of which were despotic and five of which were mature. While the hypothesis was statistically supported, two major outliers were the Ganda and the Koreans, both of which had existed as states for nearly five centuries and were nevertheless despotic.


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
Fisher's Exact TestPartially Supportedp<.05phi=.71UNKNOWN