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The Political Economy of Liberal Democracy

Author

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  • Mukand, Sharun

    (University of Warwick)

  • Rodrik, Dani

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

We distinguish between three sets of rights - property rights, political rights, and civil rights - and provide a taxonomy of political regimes. The distinctive nature of liberal democracy is that it protects civil rights (equality before the law for minorities) in addition to the other two. Democratic transitions are typically the product of a settlement between the elite (who care mostly about property rights) and the majority (who care mostly about political rights). Such settlements rarely produce liberal democracy, as the minority has neither the resources nor the numbers to make a contribution at the bargaining table. We develop a formal model to sharpen the contrast between electoral and liberal democracies and highlight circumstances under which liberal democracy can emerge. We discuss informally the difference between social mobilizations sparked by industrialization and decolonization. Since the latter revolve around identity cleavages rather than class cleavages, they are less conducive to liberal politics.

Suggested Citation

  • Mukand, Sharun & Rodrik, Dani, 2015. "The Political Economy of Liberal Democracy," Working Paper Series 15-052, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:15-052
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    File URL: https://research.hks.harvard.edu/publications/getFile.aspx?Id=1250
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    Cited by:

    1. Jerg Gutmann & Matthias Neuenkirch & Florian Neumeier, 2016. "Precision-Guided or Blunt? The Effects of US Economic Sanctions on Human Rights," ifo Working Paper Series 229, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    2. repec:spr:soinre:v:132:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1340-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Berggren, Niclas & Nilsson, Therese & Bjørnskov, Christian, 2015. "What Aspects of Society Affect the Quality of Life of a Minority? Global Evidence from the New Gay Happiness Index," Working Paper Series 1101, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    4. Jerg Gutmann & Stefan Voigt, 2015. "The Rule of Law: Measurement and Deep Roots," CESifo Working Paper Series 5670, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Dani Rodrik, 2016. "Premature deindustrialization," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 1-33, March.
    6. Ceren Baysan, 2017. "Can More Information Lead to More Voter Polarization? Experimental Evidence from Turkey," 2017 Papers pba1551, Job Market Papers.
    7. Berggren, Niclas & Nilsson, Therese, 2016. "Tolerance in the United States: Does economic freedom transform racial, religious, political and sexual attitudes?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(S), pages 53-70.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

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