Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Labour markets and representative institutions: evidence from colonial British America

Contents:

Author Info

  • Elena Nikolova

    ()
    (EBRD)

Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    The literature has identified the quality of political institutions in the transition region as an essential but understudied component of growth, transition and reform. This paper aims to disentangle the determinants of democratic institutions by investigating if high income inequality is always detrimental to the emergence and stability of such regimes, and under what circumstances labour scarcity can mitigate its adverse effect. Instead of using a crosscountry data set of transition countries covering only 20 years and prone to simultaneity and reverse causality, I present a quantitative analysis of suffrage restrictions in the 13 British American colonies from their establishment to the American Revolution. I show that in cases of a labour shortage elites use the right to vote as a tool to attract workers. Democratic institutions thus emerge despite high inequality and redistribution pressures, and only when labour demand eases do those in power have an incentive to contract the suffrage, as predicted by standard inequality-democracy arguments. Using a new and unique colony-level panel data set covering nearly 150 years, I estimate that a 10 percentage point decrease in the scarcity of labour, conditional on inequality and other controls, decreases the inclusiveness of political institutions by over 8 per cent in the short run, and by close to 20 per cent in the long run.

    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.ebrd.com/downloads/research/economics/workingpapers/wp0134.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Office of the Chief Economist in its series Working Papers with number 134.

    as in new window
    Length: 33 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2011
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: Published in Working papers 134, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
    Handle: RePEc:ebd:wpaper:134

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: One Exchange Square, London EC2A 2JN
    Web page: http://www.ebrd.com/pages/research/publications/workingpapers.shtml
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords: democratisation; institutions; colonialism;

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    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. Sebastian Braun & Michael Kvasnicka, 2009. "Men,Women, and the Ballot – Woman Suffrage in the United States," Ruhr Economic Papers 0093, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    2. Robert E. Gallman & John Joseph Wallis, 1992. "American Economic Growth and Standards of Living before the Civil War," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gall92-1, October.
    3. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2010. "History Institutions and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," Working Papers id:2811, eSocialSciences.
    4. Ticchi, Davide & Vindigni, Andrea, 2008. "War and Endogenous Democracy," IZA Discussion Papers 3397, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Beck, Thorsten & Laeven, Luc, 2006. "Institution Building and Growth in Transition Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 5718, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods And Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284, November.
    7. Graziella Bertocchi & Chiara Strozzi, 2008. "International Migration and the Role of Institutions," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 012, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics.
    8. Lena Edlund, 2005. "Sex and the City," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(1), pages 25-44, 03.
    9. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
    10. Engerman,Stanley L. & Gallman,Robert E. (ed.), 1996. "The Cambridge Economic History of the United States," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521394420, November.
    11. Alberto Abadie & Alexis Diamond & Jens Hainmueller, 2007. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California's Tobacco Control Program," NBER Working Papers 12831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Gustavo J Bobonis, 2008. "Endowments, Coercion, and the Historical Containment of Education," Working Papers tecipa-335, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    13. Basher, Syed A. & Lagerlöf, Nils-Petter, 2008. "Per-capita income gaps across US states and Canadian provinces," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 1173-1187, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    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:ebd:wpaper:134. 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: (Olga Lucas).

    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.