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No Country for Old Men: Aging Dictators and Economic Growth

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Abstract

This paper develops a model of the relationship between the age of a dictator and economic growth. In the model a dictator must spread the resources of the economy over his reign but faces mortality and political risk. The model shows that if the time horizon of the dictator decreases, either due to an increase of mortality risk or political risk, the economic growth rate decreases. The model predictions are supported by empirical evidence based on a threeway fixed effects model including country, year and dictator fixed effects for a sample of dictators from 116 countries. These results are robust to sample selection, the tenure of dictators, the definition of dictatorship, and a broad set of economic growth determinants.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 11-289.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:11-289

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Keywords: Aging; economic growth; government performance; political instability; political leaders;

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  1. Fabrizio Carmignani, 2003. "Political Instability, Uncertainty and Economics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 1-54, February.
  2. Blundell, R. & Bond, S., 1995. "Initial Conditions and Moment Restrictions in Dynamic Panel Data Models," Economics Papers 104, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  3. José Cheibub & Jennifer Gandhi & James Vreeland, 2010. "Democracy and dictatorship revisited," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 143(1), pages 67-101, April.
  4. Hanousek, Jan & Hajkova, Dana & Filer, Randall K., 2008. "A rise by any other name? Sensitivity of growth regressions to data source," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 1188-1206, September.
  5. Simon Johnson & William Larson & Chris Papageorgiou & Arvind Subramanian, 2009. "Is Newer Better? Penn World Table Revisions and Their Impact on Growth Estimates," NBER Working Papers 15455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Axel Dreher & Michael J. Lamla & Sarah M. Rupprecht & Frank Somogyi, 2006. "The impact of political leaders’ profession and education on reforms," KOF Working papers 06-147, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  7. Martin C. McGuire & Mancur Olson Jr., 1996. "The Economics of Autocracy and Majority Rule: The Invisible Hand and the Use of Force," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 72-96, March.
  8. Clague, Christopher & Keefer, Philip & Knack, Stephen & Olson, Mancur, 1996. "Property and Contract Rights in Autocracies and Democracies," MPRA Paper 25720, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864, August.
  10. Clague, Christopher, et al, 1996. " Property and Contract Rights in Autocracies and Democracies," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 243-76, June.
  11. Becker, Gary S & Mulligan, Casey B, 1997. "The Endogenous Determination of Time Preference," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 729-58, August.
  12. James A. Robinson & Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Political Losers as a Barrier to Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 126-130, May.
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