AbstractWhy would a political elite voluntarily dilute its political power by extending the franchise? This paper develops a dynamic recursive framework for studying voter enfranchisement. We study properties of dynamic enfranchisement games, dynamic games in which political rights evolve over time. Each period, private decisions of citizens co-mingle with government policies to act upon a state variable such as capital stock, a public good, or the likelihood of an insurrection. Policies are determined by the median voter of a potentially restricted franchise. The enfranchised group can choose, through its median voter, to expand the set of citizens with voting rights. In this way, each period's median voter can e.ectively delegate decision authority to a new median in the next period. We characterize the equilibria of a dynamic enfranchisement game by its Euler equations. In certain games, the equilibria generate paths that display a gradual, sometimes uneven history of enfranchisement that is roughly consistent with observed patterns of extensions. Our main result shows that extensions of the franchise occur in a given period if and only if the private decisions of the citizenry have a net positive spillover to the dynamic payo. of the current median voter. The size of the extension depends on the size of the spillover. Since the class of games we study can accommodate a number of proposed explanations for franchise extension (e.g., the threat of insurrection, or ideological or class conflict within the elite, etc), the result suggests a common causal mechanism for these seemingly di.erent explanations. We describe a number of parametric environments that correspond to the various explanations, and show how the mechanism works in each.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~03-03-03.
Date of creation: 03 Mar 2003
Date of revision:
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Postal: Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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Other versions of this item:
- Roger Lagunoff & William Jack, 2004. "Dynamic Enfranchisement," 2004 Meeting Papers 466, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- William Jack & Roger Lagunoff, 2003. "Dynamic Enfranchisement," Public Economics 0306002, EconWPA, revised 01 Jul 2003.
- William Jack & Roger Lagunoff, 2003. "Dynamic Enfranchisement," Wallis Working Papers WP36, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
- William Jack & Roger Lagunoff, 2003. "Dynamic Enfranchisement," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000030, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Roger Lagunoff & William Jack, 2004. "Dynamic Enfranchisement," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 24, Econometric Society.
- C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
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