A Theory of Minimalist Democracy

51 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2014 Last revised: 27 Feb 2021

See all articles by Chris Bidner

Chris Bidner

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Patrick Francois

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics

Francesco Trebbi

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 2014

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

Bidner, Chris and Francois, Patrick and Trebbi, Francesco, A Theory of Minimalist Democracy (October 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20552, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2505857

Chris Bidner (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) ( email )

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Patrick Francois

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Francesco Trebbi

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

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Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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