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Why Are Market Economies Politically Stable? A Theory of Capitalist Cohesion

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  • Dalgaard, Carl-Johan

    () (University of Copenhagen)

  • Olsson, Ola

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

The present paper documents that political stability is positively associated with the extent of domestic trade. In explaining this reg- ularity, we provide a model where political cohesion is linked to the emergence of a fully functioning market economy. Without market ex- change, the welfare of inherently selfish individuals will be mutually independent. As a result, political negotiations, echoing the prefer- ences of the citizens of society, will be dog-eat-dog in nature. Whoever has greater bargaining power will be willing to make decisions that en- hance the productivity of his supporters at the expense of other groups in society. If the gains from specialization become sufficiently large, however, a market economy will emerge. From being essentially non- cooperative under self-su¢ ciency, the political decision making process becomes cooperative in the market economy, as the welfare of individ- uals will be mutually interdependent due to the exchange of goods.

Suggested Citation

  • Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Olsson, Ola, 2007. "Why Are Market Economies Politically Stable? A Theory of Capitalist Cohesion," Working Papers in Economics 280, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0280
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    Keywords

    Political cohesion; Economic growth;

    JEL classification:

    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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