Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/51364
Authors: 
Apolte, Thomas
Year of Publication: 
2010
Series/Report no.: 
CAWM discussion paper / Centrum für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung Münster 29
Abstract: 
In this paper the political economy of revolutions is revisited, as it has been developed and applied in a number of publications by Acemoglu and Robinson. We criticize the fact that these authors abstract from collective-action problems and focus on inequality of income or wealth instead. In doing so, they reanimate a long but misleading tradition in social sciences, namely to directly deduct prospective group behavior from the collective interest of a group. We show that, because of collective-action problems, income inequality is not a sufficient condition for a revolution to occur. Furthermore, we also show that inequality does not even need to be a necessary condition, since all what is needed in order for a group to be interested in a revolution is that this group as a whole can expect to be a beneficiary of a revolution. For the latter to apply, however, inequality is not necessary. Hence, not inequality but rather a certain structure of commitment devices or their absence is crucial for explaining why revolutions sometimes occur and sometimes not.
Subjects: 
Credible Commitments
Dictatorship
Political Economy
Redistribution
JEL: 
D72
D74
O15
P16
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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