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The Political Foundations of Democracy and the Rule of the Law

  • Barry R. Weingast (a1)
Abstract

This paper develops a game-theoretic approach to the problem of political officials' respect for political and economic rights of citizens. It models the policing of rights as a coordination problem among citizens, but one with asymmetries difficult to resolve in a decentralized manner. The paper shows that democratic stability depends on a self-enforcing equilibrium: It must be in the interests of political officials to respect democracy's limits on their behavior. The concept of self-enforcing limits on the state illuminates a diverse set of problems and thus serves as a potential basis for integrating the literature. The framework is applied to a range of topics, such as democratic stability, plural societies, and elite pacts. The paper also applies its lessons to the case of the Glorious Revolution in seventeenth-century England.

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American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
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