In 'The Political Economy of the Kuznets Curve” (2002), Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson (AR hereafter) develop a political economy theory of the Kuznets curve. The authors contend that when capitalist industrialization increases economic inequality, political instability may induce changes in the political regime (i.e. democratization). Democratization then leads to a reduction in economic inequality through redistributive measures that accompany the institutional change. AR further suggest that development does not necessarily lead to a Kuznets curve. Accordingly, their theory also accommodates two non-democratic paths: the 'autocratic disaster” and 'East Asian Miracle.”
In this comment, we highlight two apparent errors in AR's article. The errors in question are associated with their Conditions 1 and 5, and in what follows we describe these errors in turn. We find that correcting these errors does not substantively affect the results of the article.