Contests & Conflict | 11/18/2020 | 06:00 PM
Ethnic Conflicts and the Informational Dividend of Democracy

Speaker: Dominic Rohner, University of Lausanne and CEPR

Dominic Rohner will present his paper (joint work with Jérémy Laurent-Lucchetti and Mathias Thoenig) titled "Ethnic Conflicts and the Informational Dividend of Democracy".

Abstract of the paper:
Prevailing theories of democracy focus on class conflict. In contrast, we study democratic transition when ethnic tensions are more salient than the poor/rich divide, building a model where (i) ethnic groups negotiate about allocating the economic surplus and (ii) military and political mobilizations rest on unobserved ethnic identity. Free and fair elections elicit information and restore inter-ethnic bargaining efficiency. Autocrats can rationally choose democratic transition, even if they risk losing power, as elections reduce the opposition’s informational rent. The predictions of our framework are consistent with novel country-level and ethnic group-level panel correlational evidence on democratization in the post-decolonization period.

Chair: Kai A. Konrad, Co-Chair: Subhasish Chowdhury

Dominic Rohner, University of Lausanne and CEPR
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Max-Planck-Institut für Steuerrecht und Öffentliche Finanzen

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