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