When is Democracy an Equilibrium?: Theory and Evidence from Colombia's "La Violencia"
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 seriously incomplete because it considers absolute, not relative payoffs. 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.
|Date of creation:||Dec 2006|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Mario Chacón & James A. Robinson & Ragnar Torvik, 2011. "When is Democracy an Equilibrium? Theory and Evidence from Colombia's La Violencia," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 55(3), pages 366-396, June.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson, 1999.
"A Theory of Political Transitions,"
99-26, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Humberto Llavador & Robert J. Oxoby, 2015.
"Partisan Competition, Growth and the Franchise,"
109, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
- Skaperdas, Stergios, 1992.
"Cooperation, Conflict, and Power in the Absence of Property Rights,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 720-39, September.
- Skaperdas, S., 1991. "Cooperation, Conflict And Power In The Absence Of Property Rights," Papers 90-91-06a, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
- repec:cup:cbooks:9780521855266 is not listed on IDEAS
- repec:cup:cbooks:9780521671422 is not listed on IDEAS
- Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, June.
- Tullock, Gordon, 1975. "On the Efficient Organization of Trials," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(4), pages 745-62.
- Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
- Anbarci, N. & Skaperdas, S. & Syropoulos, C., 2000.
"Comparing Bargaining Solutions in the Shadow of Conflict: How Norms Against Threats Can Have Real Effects,"
00-01-19, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
- 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.
- Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, .
"Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy,"
121, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
- Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 1759, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Persson, Torsten & Tabellini , Guido, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Seminar Papers 630, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
- Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Papers 630, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
- Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," NBER Working Papers 6329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- B. Peter Rosendorff, 2001. "Choosing Democracy," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 1-29, 03.
- 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.
- 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 101-17, February.
- Jack Hirshleifer, 1991. "The Paradox Of Power," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 177-200, November.
- Robert H. Bates, 2000. "Ethnicity and Development in Africa: A Reappraisal," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 131-134, May.
- 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.
- 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.
- Avinash Dixit & John Londregan, 1998. "Ideology, Tactics, And Efficiency In Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 497-529, May.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12789. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.