Institutions are a key explanation for long-run development, but we still do not know why institutions persist even after drastic political changes. This article explains how and why institutions persisted after the breakdown of colonial rule and the establishment of new republics. The paper analyses a society composed by two elites (economic and political) and a nonelite. This article characterizes the conditions for accommodation between elites, conflict (i.e., independence) and the emergence of a nondemocracy. Two elements prevented accommodation between elites and ultimately led to independence: their similar strength and the political elite's inability to attract the nonelite. The ability of the economic elite to attract the nonelite to the independence army provided a credible mechanism to redistribute wealth and political power. With this mechanism, institutional changes, like the extension of the franchise (i.e., democracy), was not needed. This framework can help understand institutional persistence after the breakdown of colonial rule.
Journal of Historical Political Economy, Volume 1, Issue 4 Special Issue - Historical Persistence, Part I: Articles Overview
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.