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Why did (not) the East Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Intra-Elite Conflict and Risk Sharing


  • Sayantan Ghosal
  • Eugenio Proto


The process of enfranchisement is studied in a model of intra-elite conflict over the sharing of social surplus. The relative bargaining power of each elite, function of the surplus each elite is able to appropriate if the bargaining breaks down, is uncertain ex-ante. Accordingly, two competing elites can decide to enfranchise a weak but numerically large non-elite group in order to insure against future imbalances in relative bargaining power. The enfranchisement decision requires the non-elite group to be relatively weak and imperfectly informed about intra-elite bargaining power. Our results are robust to public good provision following enfranchisement when there is preference heterogeneity over the location of the public good across the different elites. A comparative analysis of the Indian Democracy is provided.

Suggested Citation

  • Sayantan Ghosal & Eugenio Proto, 2006. "Why did (not) the East Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Intra-Elite Conflict and Risk Sharing," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_032, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  • Handle: RePEc:deg:conpap:c011_032

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Das Human Kapital," Working Papers 2000-17, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2001. "A Theory of Political Transitions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 938-963, September.
    3. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, and Growth in Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199.
    4. Graziella Bertocchi, 2006. "The Law of Primogeniture and the Transition from Landed Aristocracy to Industrial Democracy," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 43-70, March.
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:53:y:1959:i:01:p:69-105_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Fleck, Robert K & Hanssen, F Andrew, 2006. "The Origins of Democracy: A Model with Application to Ancient Greece," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(1), pages 115-146, April.
    7. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2009. "Inequality in Landownership, the Emergence of Human-Capital Promoting Institutions, and the Great Divergence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 143-179.
    2. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2006. "Inequality in Land Ownership, the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions, and Great Divergence," Working Papers 2006-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.

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