Democratization as a cost-saving device
We propose a theoretical analysis of democratization processes in which an elite extends the franchise to the poor when threatened with a revolution. The poor could govern without changing the political system by maintaining a continuous revolutionary threat on the elite. Revolutionary threats, however, are costly to the poor and democracy is a superior sys- tem in which political agreement is reached through costless voting. This provides a rationale for democratic transitions that has not been discussed in the literature.
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