Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy

  title={Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy},
  author={Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson},
This book develops a framework for analyzing the creation and consolidation of democracy. Different social groups prefer different political institutions because of the way they allocate political power and resources. Thus democracy is preferred by the majority of citizens, but opposed by elites. Dictatorship nevertheless is not stable when citizens can threaten social disorder and revolution. In response, when the costs of repression are sufficiently high and promises of concessions are not… 

Democracy and Economic Growth: Some Regularities

The paper summarizes and evaluates our current understanding of relations between democracy and economic growth and analyzes the mechanisms of the causality from democracy to growth. Specific

The Absolute and Instrumental Legitimacy of Democracy

This paper applies to democracy Max Weber’s classic theory of the instrumental legitimation of authority. It develops a model that takes into account the stimulus of institutional context and the

Democracy in CEE: The Social and Economic Embeddedness

During the last decades, considerable progress has been made in building democracy in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. However, building liberal democracies is a complex process, implying

Democracy in Progress – or Oligarchy in Disguise? The Politics of Decentralized Governance in Post-Suharto Indonesia

Despite the introduction of competitive elections and decentralization, Indonesia’s democracy has yet to realize its promise of good government. Public reform efforts have been paralyzed by national

Inequality, Development, and the Stability of Democracy -Lipset and Three Critical Junctures in German History

This paper studies the endogenous emergence of political regimes in societies in which productive resources are distributed unequally and institutions do not ensure political commitments. The results

State Power and the Economic Origins of Democracy

Recent comparative politics scholarship on regime change has not taken state capacity seriously. Prominent works on the relationship between democracy and economic inequality center on the

Inequality, Collective Action, and Democratization

  • P. Keefer
  • Economics, Political Science
    PS: Political Science & Politics
  • 2009
Epic redistributive struggles between the rich and poor lie at the heart of prominent theories of economic development and the emergence of democracy (e.g., Boix 2003; Acemoglu and Robinson 2006).

Democracy and the capitalist revolution

Democracy became the preferred and consolidated form of government only in the twentieth century. It is not sufficient to explain this change solely by reference to rational motives, nor by detecting

Institutional stickiness of democracy in post-communist states: Can prevailing culture explain it?

Structural explanation of political development offers a finite set of factors that cause democracy to consolidate or not (Acemoglu and Robinson 2006). This approach is, however, insufficient to




This paper reviews the major theoretical arguments that link political democracy with economic inequality. It then shows that previous empirical analyses of the linkage have produced inconclusive

Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy

  • S. Lipset
  • Sociology, Political Science
    American Political Science Review
  • 1959
The conditions associated with the existence and stability of democratic society have been a leading concern of political philosophy. In this paper the problem is attacked from a sociological and

The Political Foundations of Democracy and the Rule of the Law

This paper develops a game-theoretic approach to the problem of political officials' respect for political and economic rights of citizens. It models the policing of rights as a coordination problem

A Theory of Political Transitions

We develop a theory of political transitions inspired in part by the experiences of Western Europe and Latin America. Nondemocratic societies are controlled by a rich elite. The initially

Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy.

The principle of self-government through political parties, the cornerstone of democracy, has come to be regarded as a solution to the problem of nationality. This is because the principle of

The Rise and Fall of Elites: A Theory of Economic Development and Social Polarization in Rent-seeking Societies

This paper analyses how political institutions, wealth distribution and economic activities affect each other during the process of development. A simple general equilibrium model of rent-seeking

The Origins of Democracy in England

This article uses a rational choice model of the origins of democracy to analyze the political history of medieval England from the Norman conquest to the Hundred Years War. Why did a country just

Developing Democracy: Toward Consolidation

In this book noted political sociologist Larry Diamond sets forth a distinctive theoretical perspective on democratic evolution and consolidation in the late twentieth century. Rejecting theories

Conflict and Political Change in Venezuela

Venezuela has had a long and bloody history of military dictatorships. Yet, since 1958, it has developed one of the few effective, competitive democracies in Latin America. To explain this

Radicals, Reformers, and Reactionaries: The Prisoner's Dilemma and the Collapse of Democracy in Latin America

Latin American democracies of the 1960s and 1970s, most theories hold, collapsed because they had become incompatible with the structural requirements of capitalist development. In this application