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

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  • Christopher J Ellis
  • John Fender

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher J Ellis & John Fender, 2010. "Information Aggregation, Growth and Franchise Extension with Applications to Female Enfranchisement and Inequality," Discussion Papers 10-27, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  • Handle: RePEc:bir:birmec:10-27
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    File URL: ftp://ftp.bham.ac.uk/pub/RePEc/pdf/1027.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Humberto Llavador & Robert J. Oxoby, 2005. "Partisan Competition, Growth, and the Franchise," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1155-1189.
    2. Jack, William & Lagunoff, Roger, 2006. "Dynamic enfranchisement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 551-572, May.
    3. 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.
    4. Bertocchi, Graziella, 2011. "The enfranchisement of women and the welfare state," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 535-553, May.
    5. Dora L. Costa, 2000. "From Mill Town to Board Room: The Rise of Women's Paid Labor," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 101-122, Fall.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Ticchi, Davide & Vindigni, Andrea, 2007. "War and endogenous democracy," POLIS Working Papers 97, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    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. Christopher J. Ellis & John Fender, 2011. "Information Cascades and Revolutionary Regime Transitions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(553), pages 763-792, June.
    11. Szentes, Balazs & Koriyama, Yukio, 2009. "A resurrection of the Condorcet Jury Theorem," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 4(2), June.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Christopher Ellis & John Fender, 2009. "The economic evolution of democracy," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 119-145, April.
    16. 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.
    17. Christopher J. Ellis & John Fender, 2014. "Public Sector Capital and the Transition from Dictatorship to Democracy," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 82(3), pages 322-346, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Democracy; Franchise Extension; Growth;

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • P4 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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