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Dictatorship, Democratic Transitions, And Development

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  • Mark Gradstein

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    (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)

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    Abstract

    In this paper, employing the political agency framework, we revisit the comparison between autocracy and democracy with respect to their effect on growth outcomes. We find that ability to replace an incumbent political leader through election is no guarantee in itself for the welfare superiority of the latter regime; in fact, the opposite consequence may result. Legislative constraints on expropriation are shown to have the potential to enhance the welfare advantage of election, whereas moral hazard reduces the ability of election to effectively screen incumbent political leaders and thereby reduces welfare. Endogenous initiation of democratic transitions will be done by autocratic rulers under the threat of removal from office. Implications of the latter result are discussed in the light of recent democratization episodes in Africa.

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    File URL: http://www.ec.bgu.ac.il/monaster/admin/papers/2011_04.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1104.

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    Length: 35 pages
    Date of creation: 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:bgu:wpaper:1104

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    Keywords: autocracy; democracy;

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    1. Cervellati, Matteo & Fortunato, Piergiuseppe & Sunde, Uwe, 2005. "Hobbes to Rousseau: Inequality, Institutions, and Development," IZA Discussion Papers 1450, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2007. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil’s Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 2836, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Peter T. Leeson, 2008. "Media Freedom, Political Knowledge, and Participation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 155-169, Spring.
    4. Elias Papaioannou & Gregorios Siourounis, 2007. "Democratization And Growth," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 07-13, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
    5. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Economics Working Papers 0020, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
    6. Adam Przeworski & Fernando Limongi, 1993. "Political Regimes and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 51-69, Summer.
    7. Dani Rodrik & Romain Wacziarg, 2005. "Do Democratic Transitions Produce Bad Economic Outcomes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 50-55, May.
    8. Timothy Besley & Masayuki Kudamatsu, 2007. "Making autocracy work," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3764, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Keefer, Philip, 2000. "Power and Prosperity: Outgrowing Communist and Capitalist Dictatorships. By Mancur Olson. New York: Basic Books, 2000. Pp. xxvii, 233. $28.00," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(03), pages 919-921, September.
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