Democracy as an equilibrium

Adam Przeworski

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Observation shows that while democracy is fragile in poor countries, it is impregnable in developed ones. To explain this pattern, I develop a model in which political parties propose redistributions of incomes, observe the result of an election, and decide whether to comply with the outcome or to launch a struggle for dictatorship. Democracy prevails in developed societies because too much is at stake in turning against it. More income can be redistributed in developed than in poor countries without threatening democracy. Limits on redistribution arise endogenously, so that constitutions are not necessary for democracy to endure. A democratic culture characterizes the equilibrium.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)253-273
    Number of pages21
    JournalPublic Choice
    Issue number3-4
    StatePublished - Jun 2005

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Economics and Econometrics


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