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Preprints, Working Papers, ... Year : 2023

Elite-led revolutions


Revolutions are often perceived as the key event triggering the fall of an autocratic regime. They are believed to be driven by the people with the purpose of establishing a democratic regime for the people. However, the historical record does not agree with this picture: revolutions are rare, elite-driven, and often non-democratising. We first develop a new set of stylised facts summarising and deepening the latter features. Second, to explain these facts, we develop a theory of elite-driven non-democratising institutional changes triggered by popular uprisings. Our model includes four key ingredients: (i) a minority/majority split in the population; (ii) the persistence of fiscal particularism post-revolution; (iii) the presence of windfall resources; (iv) a distinction between labour income and resource windfalls as well as endogeneity of the labour supply. We show that revolutions are initiated by the elite and only when fractionalisation is moderate. Resource windfalls and labour market repression can also play a role in triggering this 'alliance' between the majority and the elite. If a revolution happens, redistribution in the subsequent regime still favours the elite, although the masses are better off.
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hal-04225397 , version 1 (02-10-2023)


  • HAL Id : hal-04225397 , version 1


Raouf Boucekkine, Rodolphe Desbordes, Paolo Melindi-Ghidi. Elite-led revolutions. 2023. ⟨hal-04225397⟩
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