Is Democracy a Normal or Inferior Good?

In economics a “normal” good is one where, ceteris paribus, consumers demand more of it when their incomes rise. Conversely, an “inferior” good is one where, ceteris paribus, consumers demand less of it when their incomes rise. Here is an example relevant to the continuing debate about whether political democracy is a normal or inferior good:

A huge throng of pro-democracy protesters poured through the skyscraper canyons of Hong Kong on Sunday afternoon, defying warnings from senior Chinese officials who refuse to set a timetable for general elections here.
The march continued well past sunset, as more and more men, women and children of all ages emerged from side streets and subway stations to join. Organizers estimated the peaceful crowd at 250,000, while the police put it at 63,000.
At either measure, the turnout was surprising because Hong Kong’s economy is booming, unemployment is falling and the city now has a popular and charismatic chief executive, Donald Tsang.

KEITH BRADSHER. “Hong Kong Protesters Want Election Timetable.” The New York Times (Mon., December 5, 2005): A6.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.