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Democratization and Civic Capital

Author

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  • Luigi Guiso

    (EIEF and CEPR)

  • Paolo Pinotti

    (Bocconi University and DONDENA)

Abstract

We document a sharp reversal in electoral participation between the North and the South of Italy after the 1912 enfranchisement which extended voting rights from a limited élite to (almost) all adult males. When voting was restricted to the élite, electoral turnout was higher in the South but falls significantly below that in the North after the enfranchisement. Furthermore the new gap is never bridged over the following century and participation remains lower in the South despite the enrichment of democratic institutions and further extension of voting rights to the female population during the post war democratic republic. This pattern in the data is consistent with a simple model where individuals’ voting in political elections is affected by private benefits and by civic duty, only elites can grab private benefits from participation in politics and civic culture differs across communities. We also find that extension of voting rights to non-elites results in a significant transfer of power to their political organizations only among populations with a high sense of civic duties. Together with the very persistent gap in participation between North and South our findings suggest that democratization – a process of concession of democratic rights – can benefit non-elites only when the latter have already a high sense of civic capital and is unlikely to be a viable avenue for inducing norms of civic behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Luigi Guiso & Paolo Pinotti, 2012. "Democratization and Civic Capital," EIEF Working Papers Series 1202, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Feb 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:eie:wpaper:1202
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Valentino LARCINESE, 2011. "Enfranchisement and Representation: Italy 1909-1913," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2014-02-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy, revised Jun 2014.
    2. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
    3. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2005. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 347-373, March.
    4. Oliver E. Williamson, 2000. "The New Institutional Economics: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 595-613, September.
    5. Durante, Ruben, 2009. "Risk, Cooperation and the Economic Origins of Social Trust: an Empirical Investigation," MPRA Paper 25887, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2009. "Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1095-1131.
    7. Thomas Ferguson & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2008. "Betting on Hitler—The Value of Political Connections in Nazi Germany," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 101-137.
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    1. repec:bdi:workqs:qse_06 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Gabriele Cappelli, 2016. "Escaping from a human capital trap? Italy's regions and the move to centralized primary schooling, 1861–1936," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 46-65.
    3. Andrea Boltho & Wendy Carlin, 2013. "EMU's Problems: Asymmetric Shocks or Asymmetric Behavior?," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 55(3), pages 387-403, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics
    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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