Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Oligarchic Versus Democratic Societies

Contents:

Author Info

  • Daron Acemoglu

Abstract

This paper develops a model to analyze economic performance under different political regimes. An oligarchic society, where political power is in the hands of major producers, protects their property rights, but also tends to erect significant entry barriers against new entrepreneurs. Democracy, where political power is more widely di used, imposes redistributive taxes on producers, but tends to avoid entry barriers. When taxes in democracy are high and the distortions caused by entry barriers are low, an oligarchic society achieves greater efficiency. Nevertheless, because comparative advantage in entrepreneurship shifts away from the incumbents, the inefficiency created by entry barriers in oligarchy deteriorates over time. The typical pattern is therefore one of rise and decline of oligarchic societies: of two otherwise identical societies, the one with an oligarchic organization will first become richer, but later fall behind the democratic society. I also discuss how democratic societies may be better able to take advantage of new technologies, how an oligarchic society might transition to democracy because of within-elite conflict, and how the unequal distribution of income in oligarchy supports the oligarchic institutions and may keep them in place even when they become significantly costly to society.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.carloalberto.org/assets/working-papers/no.47.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Collegio Carlo Alberto in its series Carlo Alberto Notebooks with number 47.

as in new window
Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:47

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Via Real Collegio, 30, 10024 Moncalieri (To)
Phone: +390116705000
Fax: +390116476847
Email:
Web page: http://www.carloalberto.org/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: democracy; economic growth; entry barriers; oligarchy; political economy; redistribution; sclerosis.;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Francesco Caselli & Nicola Gennaioli, 2003. "Dynastic Management," NBER Working Papers 9442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Trezise, Philip H., 1982. "MITI and the Japanese miracle: The growth of industrial policy, 1925-1975 : , Stanford, California: Stanford Univ. Press, 1982. x + 363 pp., index. $28.50," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 436-439, December.
  3. Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
  4. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1990. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Discussion Papers 911, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Leamer, Edward E. & Maul, Hugo & Rodriguez, Sergio & Schott, Peter K., 1999. "Does natural resource abundance increase Latin American income inequality?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 3-42, June.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521473972 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. De Long, J Bradford & Shleifer, Andrei, 1993. "Princes and Merchants: European City Growth before the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 671-702, October.
  9. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "The Form of Property Rights: Oligarchic vs. Democratic Societies," NBER Working Papers 10037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Konstantin Sonin, 2002. "Why the Rich May Favor Poor Protection of Property Rights," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 544, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  11. Bourguignon, F. & Verdier, T., 1997. "Oligarchy, Democracy, Inequality and Growth," DELTA Working Papers 97-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  12. R. Hirschowitz, 1989. "The Other Path: The Invisible Revolution in the Third World," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 57(4), pages 266-272, December.
  13. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer & Vollrath, Dietrich, 2003. "Land Inequality and the Origin of Divergence and Overtaking in the Growth Process: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 3817, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Brezis, Elise S & Krugman, Paul R & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1993. "Leapfrogging in International Competition: A Theory of Cycles in National Technological Leadership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1211-19, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. European City-States and Economic Growth
    by MKoyama in Marginal Revolution on 2012-06-15 23:31:05
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:47. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Giovanni Bert).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.