I found this summary of the work of Ben Ohlen, a Harvard junior fellow, fascinating. There are several interesting ideas in there- for instance that as you decrease the number of corrupt officials, the price of a bribe rises. But the one I found most interesting was what Ohlen found in his work on democracy- that when you assacinate a democratic leader that makes almost no difference to the future of the country concerned. Economic growth and political stability stay roughly constant. Its when you assacinate a dictator that things really change- assacinating Mugabe say in Zimbabwe would change things much more than assacinating Gordon Brown in the UK. The point I think that is contained within this argument is a crucial one and reflects a central truth that few in public life articulate because it would diminish their importance: politicians in a democracy are expendible, institutions are not.