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 effectively 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 payoff 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 in each of these seemingly different 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 University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy in its series Wallis Working Papers with number WP36.
Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: University of Rochester, Wallis Institute, Harkness 109B Rochester, New York 14627 U.S.A.
Dynamic games; voter enfranchisement; franchise extension equilibria.;
Other versions of this item:
- William Jack & Roger Lagunoff, 2003. "Dynamic Enfranchisement," Public Economics 0306002, EconWPA, revised 01 Jul 2003.
- Roger Lagunoff & William Jack, 2004. "Dynamic Enfranchisement," 2004 Meeting Papers 466, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- 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.
- William Jack & Roger Lagunoff, 2003. "Dynamic Enfrachisement," Working Papers gueconwpa~03-03-03, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
- 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
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2003-06-16 (All new papers)
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