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The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics

Editor-in-Chief: Schipper, Burkhard

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Consensual and Conflictual Democratization

Matteo Cervellati
  • Corresponding author
  • 1Department of Economics University of Bologna
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/ Piergiuseppe Fortunato
  • Corresponding author
  • Email:
/ Uwe Sunde
  • Corresponding author
  • 3University of Munich
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Published Online: 2012-12-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/1935-1704.1921


This paper studies the interactions between democratization and the emergence of rule of law. We propose a model in which heterogeneous individuals can make costly investments to protect their income against expropriation. The public enforcement of property rights is chosen by the enfranchised population whose composition depends on the political regime in place. We characterize the politico-economic equilibria in terms of property rights protection and political regime, and study the role of the different scenarios of democratization. The results suggest: (i) unequal control of natural resources is a central structural determinant of the democratization scenario; (ii) democratic transitions under conflict may lead to failed democracies with poor rule of law; (iii) that democratic transitions supported by a large consensus may serve as a coordination device thereby leading to better protection of property rights and more stable polities.

Keywords: democratization; oligarchy; rule of law; democratization scenario; multiple equilibria; path dependence

About the article

Published Online: 2012-12-20

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, ISSN (Online) 1935-1704, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/1935-1704.1921. Export Citation

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