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Income and Democracy

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Author Info

  • Acemoglu, Daron
  • Johnson, Simon
  • Robinson, James A
  • Yared, Pierre

Abstract

We revisit one of the central empirical findings of the political economy literature that higher income per capita causes democracy. Existing studies establish a strong cross-country correlation between income and democracy, but do not typically control for factors that simultaneously affect both variables. We show that controlling for such factors by including country fixed effects removes the statistical association between income per capita and various measures of democracy. We also present instrumental-variables estimates using two different strategies. These estimates also show no causal effect of income on democracy. Furthermore, we reconcile the positive cross-country correlation between income and democracy with the absence of a causal effect of income on democracy by showing that the long-run evolution of income and democracy is related to historical factors. Consistent with this, the positive correlation between income and democracy disappears, even without fixed effects, when we control for the historical determinants of economic and political development in a sample of former European colonies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5273.

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Date of creation: Oct 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5273

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Keywords: democracy; economic growth; institutions; political development;

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References

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  1. Acemoglu, Daron & Ventura, Jaume, 2001. "The World Income Distribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 2973, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  4. Robert J. Barro, 1996. "Determinants of Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Empirical Study," NBER Working Papers 5698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kraay, Aart & Ventura, Jaume, 1998. "Comparative advantage and the cross-section of business cycles," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1948, The World Bank.
  6. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2004. "Institutions as the Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Growth," NBER Working Papers 10481, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Barro, Robert J., 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Scholarly Articles 3451297, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Democracies Pay Higher Wages," NBER Working Papers 6364, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Marianne Baxter, 1995. "International Trade and Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 5025, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hausmann, Ricardo & Pritchett, Lant & Rodrik, Dani, 2004. "Growth Accelerations," CEPR Discussion Papers 4538, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  13. Baxter, Marianne, 1995. "International trade and business cycles," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 35, pages 1801-1864 Elsevier.
  14. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2005. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 546-579, June.
  15. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  16. Anderson, T. W. & Hsiao, Cheng, 1982. "Formulation and estimation of dynamic models using panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 47-82, January.
  17. Papaioannou, Elias & Siourounis, Gregorios, 2008. "Economic and Social Factors Driving the Third Wave of Democratization," CEPR Discussion Papers 6986, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2005. "From Education to Democracy?," NBER Working Papers 11204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
  21. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
  22. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," CID Working Papers 42, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  23. M Arellano & O Bover, 1990. "Another Look at the Instrumental Variable Estimation of Error-Components Models," CEP Discussion Papers dp0007, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  24. J. A. Hausman, 1976. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Working papers 185, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Income and Democracy
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2008-09-25 12:55:00
  2. Manuel Arellano recibe el premio Jaime I de Economía.
    by Cives in Politikon on 2012-06-05 17:13:35
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