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Instability of Democracy as Resource Curse

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  • Polterovich, Victor
  • Popov, Vladimir
  • Tonis, Alexander

Abstract

We suggest a dynamic game theoretic model to explain why resource abundance may lead to instability of democracy. Stationary Markov perfect equilibria of this game with four players – Politician, Oligarch, Autocrat and Public (voters) – are analyzed. Choosing a rate of resource rent tax, potential Autocrat competes with conventional Politician for the office, and Oligarch, the owner of the resource wealth, bribes Politician to influence her decisions. Actual Autocrat's tax policy may be different from the announced one. If the difference is large, then Public may revolt or Oligarch may organize a coup to throw Autocrat down. It is shown that the probability of democracy preservation is decreasing in the amount of resources if the institutional quality is low enough. It does not depend on the amount of resources, if the institutional quality is higher than a threshold. The level of the threshold, however, depends positively on the resource wealth. We have found also that under very low institutional quality, a paradoxical effect takes place: the probability of democracy preservation may decrease with small improvements of institutional quality. It is shown as well that Oligarch earns larger part of rent under democracy than under autocracy. This result conforms to empirical observation which is demonstrated in the paper: under low quality of institutions, democratization leads to higher inequality and inequality entails worsening of the attitude to democracy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 22069.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:22069

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Keywords: resource abundance; resource curse; democracy; autocracy; elections; political stability;

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References

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  1. Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2002. "Institutions and the resource curse," Development and Comp Systems 0210003, EconWPA.
  2. Stijns, Jean-Philippe C., 2005. "Natural resource abundance and economic growth revisited," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 107-130, June.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson & Thierry Verdier, 2003. "Kleptocracy and Divide-and-Rule: A Model of Personal Rule," NBER Working Papers 10136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Torvik, Ragnar, 2002. "Natural resources, rent seeking and welfare," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 455-470, April.
  5. Clague, Christopher, et al, 1996. " Property and Contract Rights in Autocracies and Democracies," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 243-76, June.
  6. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Governance matters," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2196, The World Bank.
  7. Akhmed Akhmedov & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2004. "Opportunistic Political Cycles: Test in a Young Democracy Setting," Economics Working Papers 0047, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  8. James A. Robinson & Ragnar Torvik & Thierry Verdier, 2003. "Politcal Foundations of the Resource Curse," DELTA Working Papers 2003-33, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  9. Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 1999. "The big push, natural resource booms and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 43-76, June.
  10. Clague, Christopher & Keefer, Philip & Knack, Stephen & Olson, Mancur, 1996. "Property and Contract Rights in Autocracies and Democracies," MPRA Paper 25720, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Davies, James B. & Sandstrom, Susanna & Shorrocks, Anthony & Wolff, Edward N., 2007. "Estimating the Level and Distribution of Global Household Wealth," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  12. Polterovich, Victor & Popov, Vladimir, 2007. "Democratization, Quality of Institutions and Economic Growth," MPRA Paper 19152, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2005. "Income and Democracy," NBER Working Papers 11205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Brunnschweiler, Christa N., 2008. "Cursing the Blessings? Natural Resource Abundance, Institutions, and Economic Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 399-419, March.
  15. Michael Alexeev & Robert Conrad, 2009. "The Elusive Curse of Oil," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 586-598, August.
  16. Rodriguez, Francisco & Sachs, Jeffrey D, 1999. " Why Do Resource-Abundant Economies Grow More Slowly?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 277-303, September.
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