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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. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-63, July.
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  3. 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.
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  12. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal Of Fortune: Geography And Institutions In The Making Of The Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294, November.
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  15. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2005. "From Education to Democracy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 44-49, May.
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  25. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521496032 is not listed on IDEAS
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Blog mentions

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