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Social Conflict and Gradual Political Succession: An Illustrative Model

This paper studies the evolution of political institutions in the face of conflict. We examine institutional reform in a class of pivotal mechanisms -- institutions that behave as if the resulting policy were determined by a "pivotal" decision maker drawn from the potential population of citizens and who holds full policy-making authority at the time. A rule-of-succession describes the process by which pivotal decision makers in period t + 1 are, themselves, chosen by pivotal decision makers in period t. Two sources of conflict - class conflict, arising from differences in wealth, and ideological conflict, arising from differences in preferences are examined. In each case, we characterize the unique Markov Perfect Equilibrium of the associated dynamic political game, and show that public decision-making authority evolves monotonically downward in wealth and upward in ideological predisposition toward the public good. We then examine rules-of-succession when ideology and wealth exhibit correlation.

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Paper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~05-05-15.

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Date of creation: 15 May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~05-05-15
Contact details of provider: Postal: Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
Phone: 202-687-6074
Fax: 202-687-6102
Web page: http://econ.georgetown.edu/
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Order Information: Postal: Roger Lagunoff Professor of Economics Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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  1. Barbera, S. & Maschler, M. & Shalev, J., 2001. "Voting for Voters: A Model of Electoral Evolution," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 40-78, October.
  2. Roger Lagunoff, 2005. "Markov Equilibrium in Models of Dynamic Endogenous Political Institutions," Game Theory and Information 0501003, EconWPA.
  3. Roger Lagunoff, 2006. "Dynamic Stability and Reform of Political Institutions," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000051, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. William Jack & Roger Lagunoff, 2003. "Dynamic Enfranchisement," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000030, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Justman, Moshe & Gradstein, Mark, 1999. "The Industrial Revolution, Political Transition, and the Subsequent Decline in Inequality in 19th-Century Britain," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 109-127, April.
  6. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did The West Extend The Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, And Growth In Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199, November.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson, 1999. "A Theory of Political Transitions," Working papers 99-26, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
  9. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, 2004. "Why Did the Elites Extend the Suffrage? Democracy and the Scope of Government, With an Application to Britain's "Age of Reform"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 705-763, May.
  10. Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
  11. Grandmont, Jean-Michel, 1978. "Intermediate Preferences and the Majority Rule," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(2), pages 317-30, March.
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