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Information Aggregation, Growth and Franchise Extension with Applications to Female Enfranchisement and Inequality

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  • Christopher J Ellis
  • John Fender
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    Abstract

    We develop a model of voluntary gradual franchise extension and growth based on the idea that voting is an information aggregation mechanism. A larger number of voters mean more correct decisions are made hence more output, but also imply that any incremental output needs to be shared among more individuals. These conflicting incentives are shown to lead to a dynamic model of franchise extensions that is not inconsistent with several real world episodes, including female enfranchisement. The model also predicts that in certain circumstances growth and enfranchisement will be accompanied by Kuznets curve type behaviour in inequality. Contrary to the preceding literature these conclusions do not rest on incentives for strategic delegation.

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    File URL: ftp://ftp.bham.ac.uk/pub/RePEc/pdf/1027.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Birmingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 10-27.

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    Length: 32 pages
    Date of creation: Aug 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:bir:birmec:10-27

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    Postal: Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT
    Web page: http://www.economics.bham.ac.uk
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    Keywords: Democracy; Franchise Extension; Growth;

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    1. Dora L. Costa, 2000. "From Mill Town to Board Room: The Rise of Women's Paid Labor," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 101-122, Fall.
    2. Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2007. "War and Endogenous Democracy," Working Papers 0715, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2007.
    3. William Jack & Roger Lagunoff, 2003. "Dynamic Enfranchisement," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000030, UCLA Department of Economics.
    4. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1999. "The Returns to Skill in the United States across the Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 7126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Graziella Bertocchi, 2008. "The Enfranchisement of Women and the Welfare State," Discussion Papers 4_2008, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
    6. Szentes, Balazs & Koriyama, Yukio, 2009. "A resurrection of the Condorcet Jury Theorem," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 4(2), June.
    7. Justman, Moshe & Gradstein, Mark, 1999. "The Industrial Revolution, Political Transition, and the Subsequent Decline in Inequality in 19th-Century Britain," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 109-127, April.
    8. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, 2004. "Why Did the Elites Extend the Suffrage? Democracy and the Scope of Government, With an Application to Britain's "Age of Reform"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 705-763, May.
    9. Humberto Llavador & Robert J. Oxoby, 2005. "Partisan Competition, Growth, and the Franchise," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1155-1192, August.
    10. Roger Congleton, 2007. "Informational limits to democratic public policy: The jury theorem, yardstick competition, and ignorance," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 132(3), pages 333-352, September.
    11. Sebastian Braun & Michael Kvasnicka, 2010. "Men, Women, and the Ballot. Gender Imbalances and Suffrage Extensions in US States," Kiel Working Papers 1625, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
    12. John R. Lott & Jr. & Lawrence W. Kenny, 1999. "Did Women's Suffrage Change the Size and Scope of Government?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1163-1198, December.
    13. Aidt, T.S. & Dutta, Jayasri & Loukoianova, Elena, 2006. "Democracy comes to Europe: Franchise extension and fiscal outcomes 1830-1938," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 249-283, February.
    14. Anand, Sudhir & Kanbur, S. M. R., 1993. "Inequality and development A critique," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 19-43, June.
    15. John P. Conley & Akram Temimi, 2001. "Endogenous Enfranchisement When Groups' Preferences Conflict," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 79-102, February.
    16. Toke Aidt & Bianca Dallal, 2008. "Female voting power: the contribution of women’s suffrage to the growth of social spending in Western Europe (1869–1960)," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 391-417, March.
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