Why would sovereigns ever grant political or economic liberty to
their subjects? Under what conditions would rational rulers who
possess ultimate authority and who seek to maximize power and
wealth ever give up any of that authority? This book draws on a
wide array of empirical and theoretical approaches to answer these
questions, investigating both "why" sovereign powers might
liberalize and "when."
The contributors to this volume argue that liberalization or
democratization will only occur when those in power calculate that
the expected benefits to them will exceed the costs. More
specifically, rulers take five main concerns into account in their
cost-benefit analysis as they decide to reinforce or relax
controls: personal welfare, personal power, internal order,
external order, and control over policy--particularly economic
policy. The book shows that repression is a tempting first option
for rulers seeking to maximize their benefits, but that
liberalization becomes more attractive as a means of minimizing
losses when it becomes increasingly certain that the alternatives
are chaos, deposition, or even death. Chapters cover topics as
diverse as the politics of seventeenth-century England and of
twentieth-century Chile; why so many countries have liberalized in
recent decades; and why even democratic governments see a need to
reduce state power. The book makes use of formal modeling,
statistical analysis, and traditional historical analysis.
The contributors are Paul Drake, Stephen Haggard, William
Heller, Robert Kaufman, Phil Keefer, Brian Loveman, Mathew
McCubbins, Douglass North, Ronald Rogowski, and Barry Weingast.
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