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Enfranchisement, intra-elite conflict and bargaining

By Sayantan Ghosal and Eugenio Proto

Abstract

Does power sharing between competing elites result in franchise extension to non-elites? In this paper, we argue that competing, risk-averse elites will enfranchise non-elites as insurance against future, uncertain imbalances in relative bargaining power. We show that negligibly small changes in the bargaining power of non-elites, conditional on enfranchisment, via coalition formation, constrains the bargaining power of the stronger elite and result in discontinuous changes in equilibrium surplus division. Our results are robust to public good provision following enfranchisement when there is reference heterogeneity over the location of the public good across the different elites. We conclude with a comparative analysis of Indian democracy and show that our model is able to account for some of the distinctive features of Indian democracy

Topics: JC
Publisher: University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:1445

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