Democratization As a Continuous Choice: A Comment on Acemoglu and Robinson's Correction to 'Why Did the West Extend the Franchise?'

11 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2018  

Paul Castañeda Dower

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Evgeny Finkel

Johns Hopkins SAIS

Scott Gehlbach

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Steven Nafziger

Williams College

Date Written: May 21, 2018

Abstract

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

Castañeda Dower, Paul and Finkel, Evgeny and Gehlbach, Scott and Nafziger, Steven, Democratization As a Continuous Choice: A Comment on Acemoglu and Robinson's Correction to 'Why Did the West Extend the Franchise?' (May 21, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3207569 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3207569

Paul Castañeda Dower

University of Wisconsin-Madison ( email )

Madison
Madison, WI 53705

Evgeny Finkel

Johns Hopkins SAIS ( email )

1740 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036-1984
United States

Scott Gehlbach (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin-Madison ( email )

1050 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States
608-263-2391 (Phone)

Steven Nafziger

Williams College ( email )

Williamstown, MA 01267
United States

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