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A Theory of Minimalist Democracy

Author

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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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w20552.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone & Andrea Tesei, 2012. "Oil Price Shocks, Income, and Democracy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 389-399, May.
    2. Francesco Caselli & Andrea Tesei, 2016. "Resource Windfalls, Political Regimes, and Political Stability," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 573-590, July.
    3. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 271-303, September.
    4. Casey B. Mulligan & Ricard Gil & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2004. "Do Democracies Have Different Public Policies than Nondemocracies?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 51-74, Winter.
    5. repec:wly:amposc:v:53:y:2009:i:2:p:477-494 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009. "Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422.
    7. Patrick Francois & Ilia Rainer & Francesco Trebbi, 2015. "How Is Power Shared in Africa?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83, pages 465-503, March.
    8. Chris Bidner & Patrick Francois, 2013. "The Emergence of Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 1397-1448.
    9. James D. Fearon, 2011. "Self-Enforcing Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1661-1708.
    10. Patrick Francois & Ilia Rainer & Francesco Trebbi, 2014. "The Dictator's Inner Circle," NBER Working Papers 20216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
    12. Daron Acemoglu & Suresh Naidu & Pascual Restrepo & James A. Robinson, 2013. "Democracy, Redistribution and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 19746, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christophe Muller & Pierre Pecher, 2018. "Transborder Ethnic Kin and Local Prosperity: Evidence form Night-Time Light Intensity in Africa," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2018006, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    2. Michael T. Dorsch & Paul Maarek, 2016. "Democratization and the Conditional Dynamics of Income Distribution," THEMA Working Papers 2016-06, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    3. Patrick Francois & Ilia Rainer & Francesco Trebbi, 2014. "The Dictator's Inner Circle," NBER Working Papers 20216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

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

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