IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp1693.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Can Democracy Educate a Society?

Author

Listed:
  • Gersbach, Hans

    () (ETH Zurich)

  • Siemers, Lars

    () (University of Siegen)

Abstract

We examine the constitutional design required for democratic societies to overcome poverty traps. Restricting agenda-setting only by ensuring subsistence levels of consumption and applying simple majority voting as decision rule fails to enable a society to overcome poverty because it does not induce capital-enhancing redistribution. We show that a combination of suitable constitutional rules can, however, overcome poverty and induce economic well-being. Besides majority voting, these rules include rotating agenda-setting, agenda repetition and tax protection rules. We highlight the crucial role of democratic institutions for economic development and discuss why the evidence for democracy fostering growth is mixed.

Suggested Citation

  • Gersbach, Hans & Siemers, Lars, 2005. "Can Democracy Educate a Society?," IZA Discussion Papers 1693, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1693
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp1693.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ulrich Erlenmaier & Hans Gersbach, 2001. "Flexible Majority Rules," CESifo Working Paper Series 464, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Erik Plug & Wim Vijverberg, 2003. "Schooling, Family Background, and Adoption: Is It Nature or Is It Nurture?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 611-641, June.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:83:y:1989:i:04:p:1181-1206_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Matthias Messner & Mattias K. Polborn, 2004. "Voting on Majority Rules," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 115-132.
    5. Poutvaara, Panu, 2004. "Gerontocracy revisited: unilateral transfer to the young may benefit the middle-aged," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1-2), pages 161-174, January.
    6. Barro, Robert J, 1996. "Democracy and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, March.
    7. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Adam Przeworski & Fernando Limongi, 1993. "Political Regimes and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 51-69, Summer.
    9. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2001. "A Theory of Political Transitions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 938-963, September.
    10. Clague, Christopher & Keefer, Philip & Knack, Stephen & Olson, Mancur, 1996. "Property and Contract Rights in Autocracies and Democracies," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 243-276, June.
    11. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Is Child Labor Inefficient?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 663-679, August.
    12. 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.
    13. Philippe Aghion & Alberto Alesina & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Endogenous Political Institutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 565-611.
    14. Elhanan Helpman, 1995. "Politics and Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 5309, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Tavares, Jose & Wacziarg, Romain, 2001. "How democracy affects growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1341-1378, August.
    16. Durham, J Benson, 1999. "Economic Growth and Political Regimes," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 81-111, March.
    17. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    18. Bell, Clive & Gersbach, Hans, 2009. "Child Labor And The Education Of A Society," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 220-249, April.
    19. Tilak, J.B.G., 1989. "Education And Its Relation To Economic Growth, Poverty, And Income Distribution - Past Evidence And Further Analysis," World Bank - Discussion Papers 46, World Bank.
    20. Saqib Jafarey & Sajal Lahiri, 2001. "Child Labour," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 2(1), pages 69-93, January.
    21. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1998. "Intergenerational Redistribution with Short-Lived Governments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1299-1329, September.
    22. Psacharopoulos, George, 1994. "Returns to investment in education: A global update," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(9), pages 1325-1343, September.
    23. Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 1997. "Democratic Choice of an Education System: Implications for Growth and Income Distribution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 169-183, July.
    24. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
    25. Dessy, Sylvain E. & Pallage, Stephane, 2001. "Child labor and coordination failures," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 469-476, August.
    26. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-427, June.
    27. Hans Gersbach, 2002. "Democratic Mechanisms: Double Majority Rules and Flexible Agenda Costs," CESifo Working Paper Series 749, CESifo Group Munich.
    28. Martin Shubik, 2001. "On Understanding Money," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 2(1), pages 95-120, January.
    29. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-187, June.
    30. Carol Ann Rogers & Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 1999. "The Economics of Child Labor: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1382-1385, December.
    31. Dennis Mueller & Robert Tollison & Thomas Willett, 1972. "Representative democracy via random selection," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 57-68, March.
    32. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B, 1992. "Public versus Private Investment in Human Capital Endogenous Growth and Income Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 818-834, August.
    33. Peyton Young, 1995. "Optimal Voting Rules," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 51-64, Winter.
    34. repec:cup:apsrev:v:87:y:1993:i:03:p:567-576_10 is not listed on IDEAS
    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. Bell, Clive & Gersbach, Hans, 2009. "Child Labor And The Education Of A Society," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 220-249, April.
    2. Gersbach, Hans & Siemers, Lars-H. R., 2010. "Land Reforms And Economic Development," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(04), pages 527-547, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    constitutional design; institutions; redistribution; poverty traps; tax allowances; voting rules;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

    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:iza:izadps:dp1693. 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: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: http://www.iza.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.