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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

:The Political Economy of Liberal Democracy" Rodrik & Mukand (NBER wp)


Abstract. We distinguish between three sets of rights – property rights, political rights, and civil rights – and
provide a taxonomy of political regimes. The distinctive nature of liberal democracy is that it protects
civil rights (equality before the law for minorities) in addition to the other two. Democratic transitions
are typically the product of a settlement between the elite (who care mostly about property rights)
and the majority (who care mostly about political rights). Such settlements rarely produce liberal democracy,
as the minority has neither the resources nor the numbers to make a contribution at the bargaining
table. We develop a formal model to sharpen the contrast between electoral and liberal democracies
and highlight circumstances under which liberal democracy can emerge. We discuss informally the
difference between social mobilizations sparked by industrialization and decolonization. Since the
latter revolve around identity cleavages rather than class cleavages, they are less conducive to liberal

Friday, February 2, 2018