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Partisan Competition, Growth, and the Franchise

  • Humberto Llavador
  • Robert J. Oxoby

We present an argument for changes in the franchise in which an elite split along economic interests uses the suffrage to influence implemented policies. Through the influence of these policies on the character of industrialization, we analyze the effects of franchise changes on economic growth. We identify in the social structure of society an explanation for the connection between enfranchisement and growth: when (1) there exists an economic conflict among the elite, (2) landed classes are not politically strong, and (3) there exists a critical mass of industrial workers, we observe both growth and democratization. The lack of conditions (1) or (2) resolves in stagnant autocracies while the absence of condition (3) drives growth-deterring democratic expansions. We provide historical support for our argument by analyzing the experience of eleven countries. © 2005 MIT Press

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 120 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 1155-1192

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:120:y:2005:i:3:p:1155-1192
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  19. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, 2004. "Why Did the Elites Extend the Suffrage? Democracy and the Scope of Government, With an Application to Britain's "Age of Reform"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 705-763, May.
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