IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Labour markets and representative institutions: evidence from colonial British America

  • Elena Nikolova

    ()

    (EBRD)

Registered author(s):

    The literature has identified the quality of political institutions in the transition region as an essential but understudied component of growth, transition and reform. This paper aims to disentangle the determinants of democratic institutions by investigating if high income inequality is always detrimental to the emergence and stability of such regimes, and under what circumstances labour scarcity can mitigate its adverse effect. Instead of using a crosscountry data set of transition countries covering only 20 years and prone to simultaneity and reverse causality, I present a quantitative analysis of suffrage restrictions in the 13 British American colonies from their establishment to the American Revolution. I show that in cases of a labour shortage elites use the right to vote as a tool to attract workers. Democratic institutions thus emerge despite high inequality and redistribution pressures, and only when labour demand eases do those in power have an incentive to contract the suffrage, as predicted by standard inequality-democracy arguments. Using a new and unique colony-level panel data set covering nearly 150 years, I estimate that a 10 percentage point decrease in the scarcity of labour, conditional on inequality and other controls, decreases the inclusiveness of political institutions by over 8 per cent in the short run, and by close to 20 per cent in the long run.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.ebrd.com/downloads/research/economics/workingpapers/wp0134.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Office of the Chief Economist in its series Working Papers with number 134.

    as
    in new window

    Length: 33 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2011
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: Published in Working papers 134, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
    Handle: RePEc:ebd:wpaper:134
    Contact details of provider: Postal: One Exchange Square, London EC2A 2JN
    Web page: http://www.ebrd.com/pages/research/publications/workingpapers.shtml

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1997. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," NBER Working Papers 6009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Beck, Thorsten & Laeven, Luc, 2006. "Institution Building and Growth in Transition Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 5718, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Alberto Abadie & Alexis Diamond & Jens Hainmueller, 2007. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California's Tobacco Control Program," NBER Technical Working Papers 0335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521394420 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Graziella Bertocchi & Chiara Strozzi, 2008. "International Migration and the Role of Institutions," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 012, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    6. Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2007. "War and Endogenous Democracy," Working Papers 0715, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2007.
    7. Basher, Syed A. & Lagerlöf, Nils-Petter, 2008. "Per-capita income gaps across US states and Canadian provinces," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 1173-1187, September.
    8. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-4295080 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Albouy, David, 2006. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Investigation of the Settler Mortality Data," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt8kt576x8, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    10. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
    11. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2010. "History Institutions and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," Working Papers id:2811, eSocialSciences.
    12. Sebastian Braun & Michael Kvasnicka, 2009. "Men,Women, and the Ballot – Woman Suffrage in the United States," Ruhr Economic Papers 0093, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    13. Lena Edlund, 2005. "Sex and the City," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(1), pages 25-44, 03.
    14. Andrea Brandolini & Anthony B. Atkinson, 2001. "Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of "Secondary" Data-Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries As a Case Study," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 771-799, September.
    15. Gustavo J Bobonis, 2008. "Endowments, Coercion, and the Historical Containment of Education," Working Papers tecipa-335, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    16. Robert E. Gallman & John Joseph Wallis, 1992. "American Economic Growth and Standards of Living before the Civil War," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gall92-1, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ebd:wpaper:134. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Olga Lucas)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.