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Why did (not) the East Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Intra-Elite Conflict and Risk Sharing

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  • Sayantan Ghosal
  • Eugenio Proto

Abstract

The process of enfranchisement is studied in a model of intra-elite conflict over the sharing of social surplus. The relative bargaining power of each elite, function of the surplus each elite is able to appropriate if the bargaining breaks down, is uncertain ex-ante. Accordingly, two competing elites can decide to enfranchise a weak but numerically large non-elite group in order to insure against future imbalances in relative bargaining power. The enfranchisement decision requires the non-elite group to be relatively weak and imperfectly informed about intra-elite bargaining power. Our results are robust to public good provision following enfranchisement when there is preference heterogeneity over the location of the public good across the different elites. A comparative analysis of the Indian Democracy is provided.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade in its series DEGIT Conference Papers with number c011_032.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:deg:conpap:c011_032

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  1. 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, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 705-763, May.
  2. Humberto Llavador & Robert J. Oxoby, 2004. "Partisan Competition, Growth and the Franchise," Working Papers 109, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  3. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Das Human Kapital," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 2701, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Bertocchi, Graziella, 2003. "The Law of Primogeniture and the Transition from Landed Aristocracy to Industrial Democracy," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 3723, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 1998. "Why did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality and Growth in Historical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 1797, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson, 1999. "A Theory of Political Transitions," Working papers 99-26, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. John P. Conley & Akram Temimi, 2001. "Endogenous Enfranchisement When Groups' Preferences Conflict," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 79-102, February.
  8. Fleck, Robert K & Hanssen, F Andrew, 2006. "The Origins of Democracy: A Model with Application to Ancient Greece," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(1), pages 115-46, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer & Vollrath, Dietrich, 2008. "Inequality in Land Ownership, the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions and the Great Divergence," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 6751, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2006. "Inequality in Land Ownership, the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions, and Great Divergence," Working Papers 2006-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.

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