IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hic/wpaper/21.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

When is Democracy an Equilibrium?: Theory and Evidence from Colombia’s La Violencia

Author

Listed:
  • Mario Chacón

    () (Yale University)

  • James A. Robinson

    () (Harvard University)

  • Ragnar Torvik

    () (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Abstract

The conventional wisdom in political science is that for a democracy to be consolidated, all groups must have a chance to attain power. If they do not then they will subvert democracy and choose to fight for power. In this paper we show that this wisdom is, if not totally incorrect, seriously incomplete. This is so because although the probability of winning an election increases with the size of a group, so does the probability of winning a fight. Thus in a situation where all groups have a high chance of winning an election, they may also have a high chance of winning a fight. Indeed, in a natural model, we show that democracy may never be consolidated in such a situation. Rather, democracy may only be stable when one group is dominant. We provide a test of a key aspect of our model using data from La Violencia, a political conflict in Colombia during the years 1946-1950 between the Liberal and Conservative parties. Consistent with our results, and contrary to the conventional wisdom, we show that fighting between the parties was more intense in municipalities where the support of the parties was more evenly balanced.

Suggested Citation

  • Mario Chacón & James A. Robinson & Ragnar Torvik, 2006. "When is Democracy an Equilibrium?: Theory and Evidence from Colombia’s La Violencia," HiCN Working Papers 21, Households in Conflict Network.
  • Handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:21
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.hicn.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/wp21.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Tullock, Gordon, 1975. "On the Efficient Organization of Trials," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(4), pages 745-762.
    2. Humberto Llavador & Robert J. Oxoby, 2005. "Partisan Competition, Growth, and the Franchise," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1155-1189.
    3. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
    4. Skaperdas, Stergios, 1992. "Cooperation, Conflict, and Power in the Absence of Property Rights," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 720-739, September.
    5. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2001. "A Theory of Political Transitions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 938-963, September.
    6. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
    7. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, January.
    8. repec:cup:apsrev:v:91:y:1997:i:02:p:245-263_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Anbarci, Nejat & Skaperdas, Stergios & Syropoulos, Constantinos, 2002. "Comparing Bargaining Solutions in the Shadow of Conflict: How Norms against Threats Can Have Real Effects," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 1-16, September.
    10. Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009. "Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422.
    11. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 707-765.
    12. Dixit, Avinash K & Londregan, John, 1994. "The Determinants of Success of Special Interests in Redistributive Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 1054, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Avinash Dixit & John Londregan, 1998. "Ideology, Tactics, and Efficiency in Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 497-529.
    14. repec:cup:apsrev:v:95:y:2001:i:03:p:663-672_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. B. Peter Rosendorff, 2001. "Choosing Democracy," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 1-29, March.
    16. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
    17. Durham, Yvonne & Hirshleifer, Jack & Smith, Vernon L., 2008. "The Paradox of Power," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
    18. repec:cup:apsrev:v:87:y:1993:i:01:p:115-132_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. John P. Conley & Akram Temimi, 2001. "Endogenous Enfranchisement When Groups' Preferences Conflict," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 79-102, February.
    20. Skaperdas, Stergios & Syropoulos, Constantinos, 1997. "The Distribution of Income in the Presence of Appropriative Activities," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 64(253), pages 101-117, February.
    21. Robert H. Bates, 2000. "Ethnicity and Development in Africa: A Reappraisal," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 131-134, May.
    22. Esteban, J. & Ray, D., 1999. "Collective Action and Group Size Paradox," Papers 23, El Instituto de Estudios Economicos de Galicia Pedro Barrie de la Maza.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Manuel Fernández, 2012. "Violencia y derechos de propiedad: El caso de la violencia en Colombia," ENSAYOS SOBRE POLÍTICA ECONÓMICA, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ESPE, vol. 30(69), pages 112-147, December.
    2. Juan F Vargas, 2009. "Military empowerment and civilian targeting in civil war," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 005282, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:21. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Alia Aghajanian) or () or () or (). General contact details of provider: http://www.hicn.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.