Bourguignon, François and Verdier, Thierry
Oligarchy, democracy, inequality and growth
Journal of Development Economics, 62, (2), . (doi:10.1016/S0304-3878(00)00086-9).
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This paper analyses the dynamics of inequality, democratization and economic development in a political economy model of growth where education is both the engine of growth and a determinant of political participation. In a context with imperfect capital markets, we investigate the incentives for an educated oligarchy to subsidize the poor's education and to initiate a democratic transition. We characterize the equilibrium patterns of political institutions, income distribution and growth as a function of the initial income and inequalities. In particular, we identify circumstances under which the Elite promotes the endogenous emergence of a middle class for purely political economy reasons. A simple linear infinite horizon framework is then presented. In this setting, we discuss the importance of historical dependence for long-run social stratification and redistribution
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