Pampered Bureaucracy, Political Stability, and Trade Integration

Printer-friendly version
Working paper
Caleb Stroup and Benjamin Zissimos
Issue number: 
Vanderbilt University
This paper shows how, under threat of revolution, a nation’s elite are able to maintain political stability and hence ownership of their wealth by creating or expanding a ‘pampered bureaucracy. The elite thus divert part of an otherwise entrepreneurial middle class from more productive manufacturing activities, reducing economic efficiency. If the country has a comparative advantage in primary products, trade integration is potentially destabilizing since it raises the payoff to the lower classes of mounting a revolution and challenging the elite for their wealth. In that case trade integration mandates expansion of the pampered bureaucracy. Therefore, trade integration may actually reduce economic efficiency. The econometric results provide supportive evidence for our model.
Developed by Paolo Gittoi