Democratization As a Continuous Choice: A Comment on Acemoglu and Robinson's Correction to 'Why Did the West Extend the Franchise?'
Forthcoming, Journal of Politics
11 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2018 Last revised: 3 Feb 2019
Date Written: January 11, 2019
Acemoglu and Robinson (2017) provide a correction to Proposition 1 in "Why Did the West Extend the Franchise?" (Acemoglu and Robinson 2000), showing that for intermediate values of q (the probability of social unrest in the future) the unique Markov Perfect Equilibrium is in mixed strategies. We discuss this correction in the context of a recent generalization of the Acemoglu-Robinson model that allows for a continuous institutional choice by the elite (Castaneda Dower, Finkel, Gehlbach, and Nafziger 2018). In that environment, no correction is necessary: there is a unique threshold q* such that the elite liberalizes if q is less than q* and does not liberalize otherwise. Moreover, the main empirical prediction of Acemoglu and Robinson (2000) generalizes: not only does the elite not liberalize when the excluded group poses a frequent threat of unrest, but conditional on some representation having been granted, the level of representation is decreasing in the probability of unrest.
Keywords: Political Transitions, Democratization, Acemoglu-Robinson Model, Markov Games
JEL Classification: C72, D74
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation