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A Theory of Elite-Biased Democracies

Abstract : Elite-biased democracies are those democracies in which former political incumbents and their allies coordinate to impose part of the autocratic institutional rules in the new political regime. We document that this type of democratic transition is much more prevalent than the emergence of pure (popular) democracies in which the majority decides the new political rules. We then develop a theoretical model explaining how an elitebiased democracy may arise in an initially autocratic country. To this end, we extend the benchmark political transition model of Acemoglu and Robinson (2006) along two essential directions. First, population is split into majority versus minority groups under the initial autocratic regime. Second, the minority is an insider as it benefits from a more favourable redistribution by the autocrat. We derive conditions under which elite-biased democracies emerge and characterise them, in particular with respect to pure democracies.
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Contributor : Elisabeth Lhuillier <>
Submitted on : Monday, December 7, 2020 - 6:18:22 PM
Last modification on : Monday, December 14, 2020 - 3:41:01 PM


WP 2020 - Nr 39.pdf
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  • HAL Id : halshs-03044565, version 1


Raouf Boucekkine, Rodolphe Desbordes, Paolo Melindi-Ghidi. A Theory of Elite-Biased Democracies. 2020. ⟨halshs-03044565⟩



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