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Information Aggregation, Growth and Franchise Extension with Applications to Female Enfranchisement and Inequality

  • Christopher J Ellis
  • John Fender

We develop a model of voluntary gradual franchise extension and growth based on the idea that voting is an information aggregation mechanism. A larger number of voters mean more correct decisions are made hence more output, but also imply that any incremental output needs to be shared among more individuals. These conflicting incentives are shown to lead to a dynamic model of franchise extensions that is not inconsistent with several real world episodes, including female enfranchisement. The model also predicts that in certain circumstances growth and enfranchisement will be accompanied by Kuznets curve type behaviour in inequality. Contrary to the preceding literature these conclusions do not rest on incentives for strategic delegation.

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File URL: ftp://ftp.bham.ac.uk/pub/RePEc/pdf/1027.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Birmingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 10-27.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bir:birmec:10-27
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Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT

Web page: http://www.economics.bham.ac.uk

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  1. Szentes, Balazs & Koriyama, Yukio, 2009. "A resurrection of the Condorcet Jury Theorem," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 4(2), June.
  2. Braun, Sebastian & Kvasnicka, Michael, 2010. "Men, women, and the ballot: Gender imbalances and suffrage extensions in US states," Kiel Working Papers 1625, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  3. Toke Aidt & Bianca Dallal, 2008. "Female voting power: the contribution of women’s suffrage to the growth of social spending in Western Europe (1869–1960)," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 391-417, March.
  4. Christopher Ellis & John Fender, 2009. "The economic evolution of democracy," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 119-145, April.
  5. Humberto Llavador & Robert Oxoby, 2003. "Partisan competition, growth and the franchise," Economics Working Papers 730, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 2004.
  6. William Jack & Roger Lagunoff, 2003. "Dynamic Enfranchisement," Wallis Working Papers WP36, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
  7. Bertocchi, Graziella, 2007. "The Enfranchisement of Women and the Welfare State," IZA Discussion Papers 2922, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Roger Congleton, 2007. "Informational limits to democratic public policy: The jury theorem, yardstick competition, and ignorance," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 132(3), pages 333-352, September.
  9. Anand, Sudhir & Kanbur, S. M. R., 1993. "Inequality and development A critique," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 19-43, June.
  10. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1999. "The Returns to Skill in the United States across the Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 7126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ticchi, Davide & Vindigni, Andrea, 2008. "War and Endogenous Democracy," IZA Discussion Papers 3397, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Christopher J. Ellis & John Fender, 2007. "Public Sector Capital and the Transition from Dictatorship to Democracy," Discussion Papers 07-14, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  13. Dora L. Costa, 2000. "From Mill Town to Board Room: The Rise of Women's Paid Labor," NBER Working Papers 7608, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. John R. Lott & Jr. & Lawrence W. Kenny, 1999. "Did Women's Suffrage Change the Size and Scope of Government?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1163-1198, December.
  15. Christopher J. Ellis & John Fender, 2011. "Information Cascades and Revolutionary Regime Transitions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(553), pages 763-792, 06.
  16. John P. Conley & Akram Temimi, 2001. "Endogenous Enfranchisement When Groups' Preferences Conflict," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 79-102, February.
  17. Aidt, T.S. & Dutta, Jayasri & Loukoianova, Elena, 2006. "Democracy comes to Europe: Franchise extension and fiscal outcomes 1830-1938," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 249-283, February.
  18. Justman, Moshe & Gradstein, Mark, 1999. "The Industrial Revolution, Political Transition, and the Subsequent Decline in Inequality in 19th-Century Britain," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 109-127, April.
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