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Elites and Institutional Persistence

  • Robinson, James A.
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    Particular sets of institutions, once they become established in a society, have a strong tendency to persist. In this paper I argue that understanding how elites form and reproduce is key to understanding the persistence of institutions over time. I illustrate this idea with a simple political economy theory of institutions and through examples from Liberia, the US, South Africa and Germany I show how elites influence institutions. To change institutions requires having an understanding of how reforms influence the preferences, capabilities and strategies of elites.

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    File URL: http://www.wider.unu.edu/stc/repec/pdfs/wp2010/wp2010-85.pdf
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    Paper provided by World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) in its series Working Paper Series with number wp2010-85.

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    Length: 30 pages
    Date of creation: 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2010-85
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    1. Wright, Gavin, 1999. "The Civil Rights Revolution as Economic History," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(02), pages 267-289, June.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Cantoni & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2009. "The Consequences of Radical Reform: The French Revolution," NBER Working Papers 14831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson & Daniel M. Sturm, 2010. "Political Competition, Policy and Growth: Theory and Evidence from the United States," CEP Discussion Papers dp1009, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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