Heterogeneous coalitions and social revolutions

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We have explained the presence of heterogeneous winning coalitions in social revolutions. In an overcrowded agrarian society, two almost identical non-productive enforcers, the landed political elite, collude and bargain over transfers with one of the two peasants to contest over a piece of land, as property rights for land are not well defined. In any other scenario, neither the grand coalition nor the coalition of two peasants and one enforcer forms, thereby deposing the other enforcer with positive probability. So, social revolutions never occur. If foreign wars weaken an enforcer, such as in China (1911), France, and Russia, adding one unit of capital makes the coalition of the peasant, the now worker, and one of the enforcers (now an industrial political elite) attractive: The excess labor can work with it; the weaker enforcer retaliates less and the stronger one more, if excluded. However, if the weaker one (the still-landed political elite) proposes first, a grand coalition forms in which he or she gets less than the other members do (desertion). There is conflict among peasants and among landed elites; thus, the concept of a coalition is more appropriate than that of a class.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)229-275
Number of pages47
JournalRationality and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Coalitions
  • Tullock contest
  • bargaining
  • social revolutions


  • Article

OECD Category

  • Economía, Negocios

Ulima Repository Category

  • Ciencias sociales / Procesos sociales

Ulima Repository Subject

  • Agricultores
  • Industrial trusts
  • Sociedad
  • Society
  • Trusts


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