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Destined for Democracy? Labour Markets and Political Change in Colonial British America

Nikolova, E; (2017) Destined for Democracy? Labour Markets and Political Change in Colonial British America. British Journal of Political Science , 47 (1) pp. 19-45. 10.1017/S0007123415000101. Green open access

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Abstract

In this article a new explanation for the emergence of democratic institutions is proposed: elites may extend the right to vote to the masses in order to attract migrant workers. It is argued that representative assemblies serve as a commitment device for any promises made to labourers by those in power, and the argument is tested on a new political and economic dataset from the thirteen British American colonies. The results suggest that colonies that relied on white migrant labour, rather than slaves, had better representative institutions. These findings are not driven by alternative factors identified in the literature, such as inequality or initial conditions, and survive a battery of validity checks.

Type: Article
Title: Destined for Democracy? Labour Markets and Political Change in Colonial British America
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0007123415000101
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007123415000101
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1573632
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