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Democratization or repression?


  • Acemoglu, Daron
  • Robinson, James A.


Regimes controlled by a rich elite often collapse and make way for democracy amidst widespread social unrest. Such regime changes are often followed by redistribution to the poor at the expense of the former elite. We argue that the reason why the elite may have to resort to full-scale democratization, despite its apparent costs to themselves, may be that lesser concessions would be viewed as a sign of weakness, spurring further unrest and more radical demands. The elite may therefore be forced to choose between repression and the most generous concession, a transition to full democracy.
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Suggested Citation

  • Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A., 2000. "Democratization or repression?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 683-693, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:44:y:2000:i:4-6:p:683-693

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2001. "A Theory of Political Transitions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 938-963, September.
    2. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christophe Ehrhart, 2009. "The effects of inequality on growth: a survey of the theoretical and empirical literature," Working Papers 107, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    2. Eren, Ozlem, 2005. "Oligarchs and the Russian government: fight against corruption or the private business?," MPRA Paper 26414, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Tim Willems & Shaun Larcom & Mare Sarr, 2014. "Dictators Walking the Mogadishu Line: How Men Become Monsters and Monsters Become Men," Economics Series Working Papers 701, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    4. Hausken, Kjell & Plümper, Thomas & Schneider, Gerald, 2002. "The Trilemma of the Protectionist Autocrat: An Assessment of the Political Determinants of Foreign Economic Liberalization," MPRA Paper 75866, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Howard Petith, 2007. "Sobre "Clase y Explotación" en la Corriente Principal de la Economía," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 688.07, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    6. Dawood Mamoon, 2015. "Good versus Bad Political Institutions and Economic Welfare?," International Journal of Economics and Empirical Research (IJEER), The Economics and Social Development Organization (TESDO), vol. 3(4), pages 165-175, April.
    7. Hausken, Kjell & Mattli, Walter & Plümper, Thomas, 2006. "Widening versus Deepening of International Unions," MPRA Paper 75882, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Howard Petith, 2007. "Marxian Insights from the Mainstream," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 685.07, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    9. Andrea Asoni, 2008. "Protection Of Property Rights And Growth As Political Equilibria," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(5), pages 953-987, December.
    10. Grant, Jeremy & Kirchmaier, Thomas, 2004. "Corporate ownership structure and performance in Europe," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19960, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Apolte, Thomas, 2015. "Gordon Tullock's theory of dictatorship and revolution," CIW Discussion Papers 2/2015, University of Münster, Center for Interdisciplinary Economics (CIW).
    12. Ani Guerdjikova & Levon Barseghyan, 2008. "Private Incentives versus Class Interests: A Theory of Optimal Institutions with An Application to Growth," 2008 Meeting Papers 939, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Mohtadi, Hamid & Roe, Terry L., 2003. "Democracy, rent seeking, public spending and growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 445-466, March.
    14. Petros G. Sekeris, 2008. "Preference Falsification and Patronage," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 08-18, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
    15. Barseghyan, Levon & Guerdjikova, Ani, 2011. "Institutions and growth in limited access societies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 528-568, March.
    16. Lance Kent & Toan Phan, 2013. "Business Cycles with Revolutions," Working Papers 145, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
    17. Thomas Apolte, 2016. "Gordon Tullock’s theory of revolution and dictatorship," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 158-178, June.
    18. Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth, 2008. "Understanding Low Average Returns to Education in Africa: The Role of Heterogeneity across Education Levels and the Importance of Political and Economic Reforms," IZA Discussion Papers 3766, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Jeremy Grant & Thomas Kirchmaier, 2004. "Corporate Ownership Structure and Performance in Europe," CEP Discussion Papers dp0631, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    20. Howard Petith, 2007. "The Rise of Democracy in Europe and the Fight Against Mass Poverty in Latin America: The Implications for Marxist Thought of Some Recent Mainstream Papers," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 684.07, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    21. Guido De Blasio & A. Dalmazzo, 2001. "Resources and Incentives to Reform; A Model and Some Evidence on Sub-Saharan African Countries," IMF Working Papers 01/86, International Monetary Fund.
    22. Balamatsias, Pavlos, 2016. "Democracy and taxation," MPRA Paper 82563, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 31 Oct 2017.
    23. Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth, 2007. "Within and Between Gender Disparities in Income and Education Benefits from Democracy," IZA Discussion Papers 3221, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism


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