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Democracy as an equilibrium

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  • Adam Przeworski

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    Abstract

    Observation shows that while democracy is fragile in poor countries, it is impregnable in developed ones. To explain this pattern, I develop a model in which political parties propose redistributions of incomes, observe the result of an election, and decide whether to comply with the outcome or to launch a struggle for dictatorship. Democracy prevails in developed societies because too much is at stake in turning against it. More income can be redistributed in developed than in poor countries without threatening democracy. Limits on redistribution arise endogenously, so that constitutions are not necessary for democracy to endure. A democratic culture characterizes the equilibrium. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

    Volume (Year): 123 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 3 (June)
    Pages: 253-273

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:123:y:2005:i:3:p:253-273

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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    1. Rodrik, Dani, 1998. "Democracies Pay Higher Wages," CEPR Discussion Papers 1776, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    5. John F. Helliwell, 1992. "Empirical Linkages Between Democracy and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 4066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Paul, Gilles Saint & Verdier, Thierry, 1996. "Inequality, redistribution and growth: A challenge to the conventional political economy approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 719-728, April.
    7. Avinash Dixit & Gene M. Grossman & Faruk Gul, 2000. "The Dynamics of Political Compromise," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 531-568, June.
    8. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
    9. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
    10. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
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    12. Kornhauser, Lewis A, 1999. "The Normativity of Law," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1-2), pages 3-25, Fall.
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