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Democracy, Collective Action and Intra-Elite Conflict

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  • Sayantan Ghosal

    ()

  • Eugenio Proto

    ()

Abstract

This paper studies the conditions under which intra-elite conflict leads to a democ- racy. There are two risk averse elites competing for the appropriation of a unit of so- cial surplus, with an ex-ante uncertainty about their future relative bargaining power, and a large non-elite class unable to act collectively. We characterize a democracy as consistng of both franchise extension to, and lowering the cost of collective political activity for, individuals in the non-elite. In the absence of democracy, the stronger elite is always able to appropriate the entire surplus. We show that in a democ- racy, the newly enfranchised non-elite organize and always prefer to form a coalition with weaker elite against the stronger resulting in a more balanced surplus allocation between the two elites. Accordingly, the elites choose to democratize if they are sufficiently risk averse. Our formal analysis can account for stylized facts that emerge from a comparative analysis of Indian and Western European democracies.

Suggested Citation

  • Sayantan Ghosal & Eugenio Proto, 2008. "Democracy, Collective Action and Intra-Elite Conflict," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 08-09, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  • Handle: RePEc:edb:cedidp:08-09
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Ghosal, Sayantan & Proto, Eugenio, 2009. "Democracy, collective action and intra-elite conflict," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1078-1089, October.
    2. Campos, Nauro F & Coricelli, Fabrizio, 2009. "Financial liberalization and democracy: The role of reform reversals," CEPR Discussion Papers 7393, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Cervellati, Matteo & Fortunato, Piergiuseppe & Sunde, Uwe, 2014. "Violence during democratization and the quality of democratic institutions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 226-247.
    4. Nauro Campos & Fabrizio Coricelli, 2010. "Financial Liberalization, Elite Heterogeneity and Political Reform," PSE - G-MOND WORKING PAPERS halshs-00967428, HAL.
    5. Pellicer, Miquel, 2009. "Inequality persistence through vertical vs. horizontal coalitions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 258-266, November.
    6. Galiani, Sebastian & Torrens, Gustavo, 2014. "Autocracy, democracy and trade policy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, pages 173-193.
    7. Francisco Pino & Jordi Vidal-Robert, 2014. "Habemus Papam ?Polarization and Conflict in the Papal States," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2014-27, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. repec:hal:pseose:halshs-00967428 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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