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A Farewell to Critical Junctures: Sorting Out Long-run Causality of Income and Democracy

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  • Erich Gundlach
  • Martin Paldam

Abstract

We consider the empirical relevance of two opposing hypotheses on the causality between income and democracy: The Democratic Transition claims that rising incomes cause a transi¬tion to democracy, whereas the Critical Junctures hypothesis denies this causal relation. Our empirical strategy is justified by Unified Growth Theory, which hypothe¬sizes that the present international income differences have roots in the prehistoric past. Thus, we use prehistoric measures of biogeography as instruments for modern income levels, and find a large long-run causal effect of income on the degree of democracy. This result rejects the Critical Junctures hypothesis, which is an important part of the Primacy of Institutions view

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1410.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kie:kieliw:1410

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Keywords: Long-run growth; Democracy; Unified growth theory; biogeography;

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  1. Olsson, Ola & Hibbs, Douglas Jr., 2005. "Biogeography and long-run economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 909-938, May.
  2. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A & Yared, Pierre, 2005. "Income and Democracy," CEPR Discussion Papers 5273, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. Erich Gundlach & Martin Paldam, 2008. "The Democratic Transition. A study of the causality between income and the Gastil democracy index," Economics Working Papers 2008-15, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
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  15. Vani K. Borooah & Martin Paldam, 2006. "Why is the World Short of Democracy? A Cross-Country Ananlysis of Barriers to Representative Government," ICER Working Papers 28-2006, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
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