Public Choice

, Volume 150, Issue 3, pp 561–578

Why is there no revolution in North Korea?

The political economy of revolution revisited
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11127-010-9716-4

Cite this article as:
Apolte, T. Public Choice (2012) 150: 561. doi:10.1007/s11127-010-9716-4

Abstract

The paper critically assesses the Acemoglu–Robinson approach to revolutions, as it is focused on inequality of wealth or income rather than on collective-action problems. We show that income inequality is not a sufficient and not even a necessary condition for a revolution to occur. Rather, a necessary condition for a revolution is that any subpopulation can expect net benefits from it, for which inequality is not a precondition. As a result, a certain structure of commitment devices or their absence rather than inequality is crucial for explaining why revolutions sometimes occur and sometimes not.

Keywords

Credible commitmentsDictatorshipPolitical economyRedistribution

JEL Classification

D72D74O15P16

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CIW Center for Interdisciplinary EconomicsUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany