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Selectorate theory, the democratic peace, and public goods provision

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 October 2014

Philip Arena*
Department of Political Science, University of Rochester, New York, USA
Nicholas P. Nicoletti
Department of Social Sciences, Missouri Southern State University, Missouri, USA


We show that without a few peculiar modeling choices that are not justified by the core assumptions of the theory, selectorate theory neither unambiguously predicts the democratic peace nor that leaders of more inclusive regimes will rely upon the provision of public goods to remain in office, though they may be more likely to provide club goods. We illustrate these claims using relatively simple models that incorporate the core assumptions of their theory, while avoiding modeling choices we believe to be less appropriate. We argue for a revised version of selectorate theory, one that continues to emphasize the importance of the size of the winning coalition, yet we believe it provides a more realistic picture of democratic politics.

Original Papers
© Cambridge University Press 2014 

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