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Elites and Institutional Persistence

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  • Robinson, James A.

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Robinson, James A., 2010. "Elites and Institutional Persistence," WIDER Working Paper Series 085, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2010-85
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    File URL: http://www.wider.unu.edu/sites/default/files/wp2010-85.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Cantoni & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2011. "The Consequences of Radical Reform: The French Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3286-3307, December.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Malik, Adeel & Awadallah, Bassem, 2013. "The Economics of the Arab Spring," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 296-313.
    2. Ravnborg, Helle Munk & Gómez, Ligia Ivette, 2015. "Poverty Reduction Through Dispossession: The Milk Boom and the Return of the Elite in Santo Tomás, Nicaragua," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 118-128.
    3. Ravnborg, Helle Munk & Gómez, Ligia Ivette, 2015. "The Importance of Inequality for Natural Resource Governance: Evidence from Two Nicaraguan Territories," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 72-84.

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    Keywords

    elites; political economy; persistence of institutions;

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