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Democratic Voting and Social Exclusion


  • Sylvain Dessy
  • Flaubert Mbiekop


This paper explores the political determinants of societies' tolerance for social exclusion on the basis of ethnicity, religion, or race. We develop a political-economic model of social exclusion with three main features. First, each individual living in this society must submit a political proposals regarding the extent to which society must tolerance social exclusion. Second, depending on the realized degree of society's tolerance for social exclusion, each population group comprising the society must decide on how much resources to expend in order to exclude rival groups from, or include its members in, the public allocation of education resources. Third, allocation of resources to participation in the exclusion contest trades off private investment in child's human capital. To the extent that population size is, at least initially, the only source of asymmetry between rival groups, our analysis suggests that the introduction of democratic voting may not be sufficient to save small, but visible, minorities from social exclusion. Only where this asymmetric is moderate, can the introduction of democratic voting suffice to eliminate social exclusion.

Suggested Citation

  • Sylvain Dessy & Flaubert Mbiekop, 2006. "Democratic Voting and Social Exclusion," Cahiers de recherche 0618, CIRPEE.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0618

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, 1994. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 323-350 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    3. Glaeser, Edward L., 1994. "Why does schooling generate economic growth?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 333-337.
    4. Mark Gradstein & Moshe Justman, 2002. "Education, Social Cohesion, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1192-1204, September.
    5. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
    6. Mark Gradstein & Maurice Schiff, 2006. "The political economy of social exclusion, with implications for immigration policy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 19(2), pages 327-344, June.
    7. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
    8. Montalvo, Jose G. & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2005. "Ethnic diversity and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 293-323, April.
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    More about this item


    Democratic voting; social exclusion; political equilibrium;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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