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Power and Persistence: The Indigenous Roots of Representative Democracy

Jeanet Bentzen (), Jacob Gerner Hariri and James A Robinson

Economic Journal, 2019, vol. 129, issue 618, 678-714

Abstract: This article documents that indigenous democratic practices are associated with contemporary representative democracy. The basic association is conditioned on the relative strength of the indigenous groups within a country; stronger groups were able to shape national regime trajectories, weaker groups were not. Our analyses suggest that institutions are more likely to persist if they are supported by powerful actors and less likely to persist if the existing power structure is disrupted by, e.g. colonisation. Our findings contribute to a growing literature on institutional persistence and change.

Date: 2019
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Handle: RePEc:oup:econjl:v:129:y:2019:i:618:p:678-714.