Why Did The West Extend The Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, And Growth In Historical Perspective
AbstractDuring the nineteenth century most Western societies extended voting rights, a decision that led to unprecedented redistributive programs. We argue that these political reforms can be viewed as strategic decisions by the political elite to prevent widespread social unrest and revolution. Political transition, rather than redistribution under existing political institutions, occurs because current transfers do not ensure future transfers, while the extension of the franchise changes future political equilibria and acts as a commitment to redistribution. Our theory also offers a novel explanation for the Kuznets curve in many Western economies during this period, with the fall in inequality following redistribution due to democratization. © 2000 the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by MIT Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.
Volume (Year): 115 (2000)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/
Other versions of this item:
- Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 1998. "Why did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality and Growth in Historical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 1797, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- O15 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
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