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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1520886
 
 

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Gaming Democracy: Elite Dominance During Transition and Prospects for Redistribution


Michael Albertus


University of Chicago - Department of Political Science

Victor A. Menaldo


University of Washington - Department of Political Science

February 28, 2011

British Journal of Political Science, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
Inequality and democracy are far more compatible empirically than predicted by social conflict theory. This paper speaks to this puzzle, identifying the scope conditions under which democratization induces greater redistribution. Because autocrats sometimes have incentives to expropriate economic elites, who lack reliable institutions to protect their rights, elites may prefer democracy to autocratic rule if they can impose roadblocks to redistribution under democracy ex ante. Using global cross-sectional time-series data (1972-2008), we find that only if elites are politically weak during transition, as when there is revolutionary pressure, is there a relationship between democracy and redistribution. Redistribution is also greater if a democratic regime can avoid adopting and operating under a constitution written by outgoing elites and instead create a new constitution that redefines the political game. This finding holds across three different measures of redistribution and instrumental variables estimation. We also document the ways in which elites “bias” democratic institutions.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 50

Keywords: Democratization, political regimes, redistribution

JEL Classification: D7, O00, P00

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Date posted: December 11, 2009 ; Last revised: March 6, 2013

Suggested Citation

Albertus, Michael and Menaldo, Victor A., Gaming Democracy: Elite Dominance During Transition and Prospects for Redistribution (February 28, 2011). British Journal of Political Science, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1520886 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1520886

Contact Information

Michael Albertus (Contact Author)
University of Chicago - Department of Political Science ( email )
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
Victor A. Menaldo
University of Washington - Department of Political Science ( email )
101 Gowen Hall
Box 353530
Seattle, WA 98195
United States
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