131/2013 Sharun Majumdar and Sharun W. Mukand
The paper examines the role of policy intervention in engendering institutional change. We show that ﬁrst order changes in the political structure (e.g. introduction of democracy) may be undermined by local political interests and result in persistence in institutions and the (poor) quality of governance. The paper identiﬁes two eﬀects of development policy as a tool for institutional change. One, by increasing political accountability, it may encourage nascent democratic governments to invest in good institutions – the incentive eﬀect. However, we show that it also increases the incentive of the rentier elite to tighten their grip on political institutions – the political control eﬀect. Which of these dominate determine the overall impact on institutional quality. Under some conditions, by getting the elite to align their economic interests with that of the majority, development policy can lead to democratic consolidation and economic improvement. However if elite entrenchment is pervasive, then comprehensive change may require more coercive means.
Culture and Development
Journal of Public Economic Theory