Information Aggregation, Growth, and Franchise Extension with Applications to Female Enfranchisement and Inequality

29 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2016

See all articles by Christopher J. Ellis

Christopher J. Ellis

University of Oregon - Department of Economics

John Fender

University of Birmingham - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 2016

Abstract

We develop a model of voluntary gradual franchise extension and growth based on the idea that voting is an information aggregation mechanism. A larger number of voters means that more correct decisions are made, hence increasing output, but also implies that any incremental output must be shared among more individuals. These conflicting incentives lead to a dynamic model of franchise extensions that is consistent with several real world episodes, including female enfranchisement. The model also predicts that in certain circumstances growth and enfranchisement will be accompanied by Kuznets curve type behaviour in inequality. Contrary to the preceding literature these conclusions do not rest on incentives for strategic delegation.

Keywords: democracy, franchise extension, growth

JEL Classification: H0, P4, P16

Suggested Citation

Ellis, Christopher J. and Fender, John, Information Aggregation, Growth, and Franchise Extension with Applications to Female Enfranchisement and Inequality (April 2016). Bulletin of Economic Research, Vol. 68, Issue 3, pp. 239-267, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2803632 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/boer.12043

Christopher J. Ellis (Contact Author)

University of Oregon - Department of Economics ( email )

Eugene, OR 97403
United States

John Fender

University of Birmingham - Department of Economics ( email )

Economics Department
Birmingham, B15 2TT
United Kingdom

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