The Department of Economics Theory, History and Development Seminar Series presents

"The Word and the Sword: Ideological Entrepreneurs and the Rise of Equality"
with Diego Grijalva, Economics Graduate Student, UCI

Monday, November 26, 2012
3:30-5:00 p.m.
Social Science Plaza B, Room 3266 (Econ Library)

The ideas of the Enlightenment played a central role in the original processes of democratization that occurred throughout the world starting at the end of the eighteenth century. A simple model portrays the role of these ideas, and in particular, the ideological conflict between their promoters (ideological entrepreneurs) and those in favor of the dominant ideology (rich) to persuade the disenfranchised of their respective positions. Extensions of the franchise -either following a revolution or through a peaceful process under the threat of revolution- are only possible when the entrepreneurs win the ideological contest and the Enlightenment ideology is shared by the poor. Ideological differences thus may explain the occurrence of civil conflict. More importantly, they are a necessary condition for institutional change. The actual outcome (revolution or peaceful democratization) depends on the preferences of the ideological entrepreneurs. Ideological conflict emerges only when neither ideology is dominant in the population. This occurs when the poor assign an intermediate value to the probability of a transition.

For further information, please contact Gloria Simpson, simpsong@uci.edu or 949-824-5788.

 

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