NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Chris A. Bidner

Simon Fraser University
Department of Economics
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, BC, Canada

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

October 2014A Theory of Minimalist Democracy
with Patrick Francois, Francesco Trebbi: w20552
A majority of the world democracies are far from the benchmark of representative democracy. This paper presents a model of political transitions based on a minimalist conception of the democratic state, i.e. a form of government solely characterized by competitive elections. We show that the model can produce dynamics of transition into democracy without requiring any role for redistribution or representation of voters, but solely based on interactions among the ruling elites. This allows the model to match several relevant stylized facts concerning the organization of new and consolidating democracies, weakly institutionalized countries, and hybrid regimes.
 
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