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Democracy as an equilibrium

Authors
Disciplines
  • Political Science

Abstract

Observation shows that while democracy is fragile in poor countries, it is impregnable in developed ones. To explain this pattern, I develop a model in which political parties propose redistributions of incomes, observe the result of an election, and decide whether to comply with the outcome or to launch a struggle for dictatorship. Democracy prevails in developed societies because too much is at stake in turning against it. More income can be redistributed in developed than in poor countries without threatening democracy. Limits on redistribution arise endogenously, so that constitutions are not necessary for democracy to endure. A democratic culture characterizes the equilibrium. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

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