Advertisement

State Power and the Economic Origins of Democracy

  • Hillel David SoiferEmail author
Article

Abstract

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 expectation by economic elites that democratization will lead to economic redistribution. But state capacity is necessary for redistribution, and where extractive capacity is lacking, rational economic elites should not fear that suffrage expansion would lead to effective redistribution, nor should the masses expect to gain economically from democratization. State capacity thus acts as a scope condition for the effect of inequality on regime outcomes. This prediction is confirmed through replication and extension of the analysis in Boix (2003), with the addition of the presence of a regularly implemented national census as a proxy for state capacity. In strong states, the effect of inequality on regime change is confirmed. But where the state is weak, inequality is shown to have no effect on regime outcomes. Thus, including state capacity in theories of regime change calls into question general claims about the “economic origins” of dictatorship and democracy.

Keywords

Democratization State capacity Redistribution Inequality 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 2008 meetings of the Midwest Political Science Association and the American Political Science Association, Temple University, and Dartmouth University, and an early version was published as Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper #93 in 2009. I thank Carles Boix for sharing his data, and Mark Copelovitch, Kevin Arceneaux, Megan Mullin, Ryan Vander Wielen, and Ben Ansell for answering queries about methodological issues. Carles Boix, John Carey, Mark Copelovitch, Jorge I. Domínguez, Thad Dunning, Zach Elkins, Daniel Gingerich, Kimuli Kasara, Steve Levitsky, Juan Pablo Luna, Victor Menaldo, Dan Reiter, Rachel Beatty Riedl, James Robinson, David Samuels, Prerna Singh, Maya Tudor, Milan Vaishnav, Matthias vom Hau, Daniel Ziblatt, and the graduate students in my seminar ‘The State in Comparative Politics’, and colleagues in the Political Science department at Temple read early versions and provided helpful comments. I thank them as well as the reviewers and journal editors for suggestions that greatly improved the paper.

Supplementary material

12116_2012_9122_MOESM1_ESM.docx (61 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 61 KB)

References

  1. Acemoglu D, Robinson JA. Economic origins of dictatorship and democracy. Cambridge University Press; 2006.Google Scholar
  2. Acemoglu D, Robinson JA. Why did the West extend the franchise? Growth, inequality, and democracy in historical perspective. Q J Econ. 2000;CXV:1167–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Acemoglu D, Robinson JA. A theory of political transitions. Am Econ Rev. 2001;91:938–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alesina A, Baqir R, Easterly W. Public goods and ethnic divisions. QJ Econ (November). 1999;CXIV(4):1243–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Alterman H. Counting people: the census in history. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World; 1969.Google Scholar
  6. Ansell B, Samuels D. ‘Inequality and democratization: a Contractarian approach’ Comparative Political Studies (December). 2010.Google Scholar
  7. Babones S, Alvarez-Rivadulla MJ. Standardized income inequality data for use in cross-national research. Sociol Inq. 2007;77(1 (February)):3–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Baland J-M, Robinson JA. ‘Land and power: theory and evidence from Chile’ (Unpublished Manuscript). 2004.Google Scholar
  9. Barnett MN. Confronting the Costs of War: Military Power, State, and Society in Egypt and Israel. Princeton University Press; 1992.Google Scholar
  10. Beck N, Katz JN, Tucker R. Taking time seriously: time series cross section analysis with a binary dependent variable. American Journal of Political Science. 1998;42(4 (October)):1260–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bellin E. The robustness of authoritarianism in the Middle East in comparative perspective. Comparative Politics. 2004;36(2 (January)):139–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Boix C. Democracy and redistribution. Cambridge University Press; 2003.Google Scholar
  13. Boix C. and Sebastián R. ‘A Complete Data Set of Political Regimes 1800-1999’. The University of Chicago; 2001.Google Scholar
  14. Boone C. ‘Electoral populism where property rights are weak’ Comparative Politics (January). 2009. pp.183–201.Google Scholar
  15. Braumoeller B. Hypothesis testing and multiplicative interaction terms. Int Organ. 2004;58(Fall):807–20.Google Scholar
  16. Centeno MA. Blood and debt: war and the nation state in Latin America. Penn State University Press; 2002.Google Scholar
  17. Colburn FD, Rahmato D. Rethinking socialism in the Third World. Third World Q. 1992;13(1):159–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Collier D. Squatters and oligarchs: authoritarian rule and policy change in Peru. Johns Hopkins University Press; 1976.Google Scholar
  19. Dahl R. Polyarchy: participation and opposition. Yale University Press; 1971.Google Scholar
  20. Deininger K, Squire L. A new data set measuring income inequality. The World Bank Econ Rev. 1996;10(3):565–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dunning T. Crude democracy: natural resource wealth and political regimes. Cambridge University Press; 2008.Google Scholar
  22. Durand F, Thorp R. Reforming the State: A Study of the Peruvian Tax Reform. Oxford Agrarian Studies. 1998;26(2):133–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Eckstein S. The poverty of revolution: the state and the urban poor in Mexico. Princeton University Press; 1988.Google Scholar
  24. Epstein DL, Bates R, Goldstone J, Kristensen I, O’Halloran S. Democratic transitions. American Journal of Political Science. 2006;50(3 (July)):551–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fearon J, Laitin D. Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War. American Political Science Review. 2003;97(1):75–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hagopian F. Democracy by undemocratic means? Comparative Political Studies. 1990;23(3):147–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Herrera Y, Kapur D. Improving data quality: actors, incentives, and capabilities. Polit Anal. 2007;15(4):365–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Herring RJ. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and eradication of feudalism in Pakistan. Comp Stud Soc Hist. 1979;21(4):519–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hidalgo FD, et al. (2010) ‘Economic Determinants of Land Invasions’. Rev Econ Stat. 2010;29(3):505–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hoffman K, Centeno MA. The lopsided continent: inequality in Latin America. Annu Rev Sociol. 2003;29:363–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hunter W. ‘Contribution to symposium: big unanswered questions in comparative politics’ APSA-CP Newsletter vol. 19 #1 (Winter). 2008.Google Scholar
  32. Huntington S. The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century. University of Oklahoma Press; 1991.Google Scholar
  33. Kain RJP. and Baigent E. The cadastral map in the service of the state: a history of property mapping. University of Chicago Press; 1992.Google Scholar
  34. Knight A. The Mexican Revolution vol. 1: Porfirians, liberals, and peasants. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press; 1986.Google Scholar
  35. Kohl J. Peasant and revolution in Bolivia, April 9, 1952–August 2, 1953. Hisp Am Hist Rev. 1978;58:238–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. La Porta R, Lopez de Silanes F, Shleifer A, and Vishny R. ‘The quality of government’ NBER Working Paper no.6727. 1998.Google Scholar
  37. Lange M, Rueschemeyer D. States and development: historical antecedents of stagnation and advance. Palgrave Macmillan; 2005.Google Scholar
  38. LeGrand C. Frontier expansion and peasant protest in Colombia 1850–1936. University of New Mexico Press; 1986.Google Scholar
  39. Levi M. Of rule and revenue. Berkeley: University of California Press; 1988.Google Scholar
  40. Levitsky S, Way L. Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War. Cambridge University Press; 2010.Google Scholar
  41. Lieberman ES. Race and regionalism in the politics of taxation in Brazil and South Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Linz J. and Stepan A. Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern. 1996.Google Scholar
  43. Lipset SM. Political Man: the Social Bases of Politics. Johns Hopkins University Press; 1959.Google Scholar
  44. Loveman B. Struggle in the countryside: politics and rural labor in Chile, 1919–1973. Bloomington IN: University of Indiana Press; 1976.Google Scholar
  45. Mainwaring S, Pérez-Liñan A. Level of Development and Democracy: Latin American Exceptionalism 1945-1996. Comparative Political Studies. 2003;36(9):1031–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mann M. The autonomous power of the state: its origins, mechanisms and results. Archives Européenes de Sociologie. 1984;25:185–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mann, M. The sources of social power volume 2: the rise of classes and Nation-States 1760-1914. New York: Cambridge University Press; 1993.Google Scholar
  48. Mares I. Social protection around the world: external insecurity, state capacity, and domestic political cleavages. Comparative Political Studies. 2005;38(6 (August)):623–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Meltzer AH, Richard SA. A rational theory of the size of government. J Polit Econ. 1981;89(5):914–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Menaldo V. ‘Banking on redistribution: financial institutions and fiscal redistribution in Latin American democracies’ (Paper Presented at APSA). 2008.Google Scholar
  51. O’Donnell G. On the state, democratization and some conceptual problems: a Latin American view with some glances at post-Communist countries. World Dev. 1993;21(8):1355–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. O’Donnell G. and Schmitter P. Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies. Johns Hopkins University Press; 1986.Google Scholar
  53. O’Neil, S. ‘Fixing social security in Latin America (Again)’ Americas Quarterly (Fall). 2007.Google Scholar
  54. Onoma KA. The politics of property rights institutions in Africa. Cambridge University Press; 2010.Google Scholar
  55. Pierson P. and Hacker JS. Off center: the Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy. Yale University Press; 2005.Google Scholar
  56. Powelson J, Stock R. The peasant betrayed: agriculture and land reform in the Third World. Cato Institute Press; 1990.Google Scholar
  57. Przeworski A, Alvarez ME, Cheibub J, and Limongi F. Democracy and development. Cambridge University Press. 2000.Google Scholar
  58. Rueschemeyer D, Huber Stephens E, and Stephens J. Capitalist development and democracy. University of Chicago Press; 1992.Google Scholar
  59. Scott JC. Seeing like a state. Yale University Press; 1998.Google Scholar
  60. Seligmann LJ. Between reform and revolution: political struggles in the Peruvian Andes, 1969–1991 (Stanford). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press; 1995.Google Scholar
  61. Skocpol T. States and social revolutions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Slater D. Ordering power: contentious politics and authoritarian leviathans in Southeast Asia. Cambridge University Press; 2010.Google Scholar
  63. Smith B. ‘Rethinking the economic origins of dictatorship and democracy: the continuing value of cases and comparisons’ APSA-CP Newsletter. Winter; 2008. pp.16-21.Google Scholar
  64. Thies CG. ‘State Building, Interstate and Intrastate Rivalry: A Study of Post-colonial Developing Country Extractive Efforts 1975–2000. Int Stud Quart. 2004;48(1):53–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Tilly C. Coercion, capital, and European states AD 990–1992. Blackwell; 1992.Google Scholar
  66. Ventresca M. When states count: institutional and political dynamics in modern census establishment 1800–1993. Stanford University: PhD Dissertation; 1995.Google Scholar
  67. Weber M. From Max Weber: essays in sociology H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills, eds. Oxford University Press 1958.Google Scholar
  68. Wright TC. Landowners and reform in Chile. Urbana: University of Illinois Press; 1982.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations