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A Theory of Minimalist Democracy

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Listed:
  • Chris Bidner
  • Patrick Francois
  • Francesco Trebbi

Abstract

A majority of the world democracies are far from the benchmark of representative democracy. This paper presents a model of political transitions based on a minimalist conception of the democratic state, i.e. a form of government solely characterized by competitive elections. We show that the model can produce dynamics of transition into democracy without requiring any role for redistribution or representation of voters, but solely based on interactions among the ruling elites. This allows the model to match several relevant stylized facts concerning the organization of new and consolidating democracies, weakly institutionalized countries, and hybrid regimes.

Suggested Citation

  • Chris Bidner & Patrick Francois & Francesco Trebbi, 2014. "A Theory of Minimalist Democracy," NBER Working Papers 20552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20552
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chris Bidner & Shirleen Manzur, 2022. "A Theory of Illiberal Democracy and Political Transitions," Discussion Papers dp22-06, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
    2. Jérémy Laurent-Lucchetti & Dominic Rohner & Mathias Thoenig, 2024. "Ethnic Conflict and the Informational Dividend of Democracy," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 73-116.
    3. Dorsch, Michael T. & Maarek, Paul, 2019. "Democratization and the Conditional Dynamics of Income Distribution," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 385-404, May.
    4. Andrea Marcucci & Dominic Rohner & Alessandro Saia, 2023. "Ballot or Bullet: The Impact of the UK’s Representation of the People Act on Peace and Prosperity," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 133(652), pages 1510-1536.
    5. Patrick Francois & Ilia Rainer & Francesco Trebbi, 2014. "The Dictator's Inner Circle," NBER Working Papers 20216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Jack Paine, 2024. "A comment on Powell and formal models of power sharing ," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 36(2), pages 212-233, April.
    7. Christophe Muller & Pierre Pecher, 2018. "Transborder Ethnic Kin and Local Prosperity: Evidence form Night-Time Light Intensity in Africa," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2018006, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    8. Hao Hong & Tsz-Ning Wong, 2020. "Authoritarian election as an incentive scheme," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 32(3), pages 460-493, July.

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    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • P16 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Capitalist Economies - - - Capitalist Institutions; Welfare State
    • P48 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

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