Populist policies in the transition to democracy
This paper develops a political economy model that provides an explanation as for why ruling elites in oligarquic societies may rely on income redistribution to the poor (the masses) in order to prevent them from attempting a revolution. We refer to this kind of redistribution as populist redistribution because, first it does not increase the poor’s productive capacity (human capital), and second it seeks to “buy” political support (peace) to perpetuate the elite’s control of political power. We examine the conditions under which ruling elites choose to deter the poor (by means of military repression and/or populist redistribution), to engage in a dispute with the poor for the control of political power, or, alternatively, to extend democracy. According to the results of the model populist redistribution (or military repression), if any, increases with initial wealth inequality and with the amount of redistribution that the poor can undertake under democracy, and decreases with the relative importance of a human capital externality in production. The model explains why in some cases the use of an apparently ine cient policy of populist redistribution turns out to be optimal for both groups (the ruling elite and the poor class) when the alternative is to use of military repression or default to conflict.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
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.:
- Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2006.
"Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521855266, 1.
- Daron Acemoglu, 2007.
"Oligarchic Versus Democratic Societies,"
Carlo Alberto Notebooks
47, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
- Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
- Francisco H.G. Ferreira, 2001. "Education for the masses? The interaction between wealth, educational and political inequalities," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 9(2), pages 533-552, July.
- Stergios Skaperdas, 1996.
"Contest success functions (*),"
Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 283-290.
- Campante, Filipe R. & Ferreira, Francisco H.G., 2007.
"Inefficient lobbying, populism and oligarchy,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 993-1021, June.
- Campante, Felipe R. & Ferreira, Francisco G.H., 2004. "Inefficient lobbying, populism and oligarchy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3240, The World Bank.
- Filipe Campante & Francisco H. G. Ferreira, . "Inefficient Lobbying, Populism and Oligarchy," Working Paper 248211, Harvard University OpenScholar.
- Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Filipe Campante, 2004. "Inefficient lobbying, populism and oligarchy," Textos para discussão 483, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
- Rudiger Dornbusch & Sebastian Edwards, 1989. "Macroeconomic Populism in Latin America," NBER Working Papers 2986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Mark Gradstein, 2007. "Inequality, democracy and the protection of property rights," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 252-269, 01.
- Alesina, Alberto & Drazen, Allan, 1991.
"Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1170-88, December.
- repec:oup:restud:v:73:y:2006:i:1:p:85-117 is not listed on IDEAS
- Bourguignon, F. & Verdier, T., 1997.
"Oligarchy, Democracy, Inequality and Growth,"
DELTA Working Papers
97-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
- Hirshleifer, Jack, 1991. "The Technology of Conflict as an Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 130-34, May.
- Grossman, Herschel I & Kim, Minseong, 1996.
" Predation and Accumulation,"
Journal of Economic Growth,
Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 333-50, September.
- Pedro Dal BÃ³ & Ernesto Dal BÃ³, 2004.
"Workers, Warriors and Criminals: Social Conflict in General Equilibrium,"
Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings
642, Econometric Society.
- Ernesto Dal Bó & Pedro Dal Bó, 2011. "Workers, Warriors, And Criminals: Social Conflict In General Equilibrium," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 646-677, 08.
- Pedro Dal bÃ³, 2004. "Workers, Warriors and Criminals: Social Conflict in General Equilibrium," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 341, Econometric Society.
- Pedro DalBo & Ernesto DalBo, 2004. "Workers, Warriors and Criminals: Social Conflict in General Equilibrium," Working Papers 2004-11, Brown University, Department of Economics.
- Giuseppe Bertola, 1991.
"Factor Shares and Savings in Endogenous Growth,"
NBER Working Papers
3851, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ian Morris, 2004. "Economic Growth in Ancient Greece," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 160(4), pages 709-, December.
- H. I. Grossman & M. Kim, 1999.
"Educational Policy: Egalitarian or Elitist?,"
365, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
- Miguel Urrutia, 1991. "On the Absence of Economic Populism in Colombia," NBER Chapters, in: The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America, pages 369-391 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
- Rudiger Dornbusch & Sebastian Edwards, 1991. "Introduction to "The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America"," NBER Chapters, in: The Macroeconomics of Populism in Latin America, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dornbusch, Rudiger & Edwards, Sebastian, 1989.
"The macroeconomics of populism in Latin America,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
316, The World Bank.
- Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2001.
"The Evolution of Suffrage Institutions in the New World,"
NBER Working Papers
8512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Engerman, Stanley L. & Sokoloff, Kenneth L., 2005. "The Evolution of Suffrage Institutions in the New World," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(04), pages 891-921, December.
- Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
- Grossman, Herschel I & Kim, Minseong, 1995. "Swords or Plowshares? A Theory of the Security of Claims to Property," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1275-88, December.
- Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004.
"Das Human Kapital: A Theory of the Demise of the Class Structure,"
GE, Growth, Math methods
- Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "The Form of Property Rights: Oligarchic vs. Democratic Societies," NBER Working Papers 10037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gershenson, Dmitriy, 2002. "Sanctions and Civil Conflict," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(274), pages 185-206, May.
- Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1989. "Social Conflict and Populist Policies in Latin America," NBER Working Papers 2897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:23:y:2007:i:4:p:932-953. 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: (Zhang, Lei)
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.