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Democracy as an equilibrium

  • Adam Przeworski

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    Observation shows that while democracy is fragile in poor countries, it is impregnable in developed ones. To explain this pattern, I develop a model in which political parties propose redistributions of incomes, observe the result of an election, and decide whether to comply with the outcome or to launch a struggle for dictatorship. Democracy prevails in developed societies because too much is at stake in turning against it. More income can be redistributed in developed than in poor countries without threatening democracy. Limits on redistribution arise endogenously, so that constitutions are not necessary for democracy to endure. A democratic culture characterizes the equilibrium. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-005-7163-4
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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

    Volume (Year): 123 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 3 (June)
    Pages: 253-273

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:123:y:2005:i:3:p:253-273
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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    1. Dani Rodrik, 1999. "Democracies Pay Higher Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 707-738, August.
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    7. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
    8. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-91, September.
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