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Income and Democracy

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

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 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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11205.

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Date of creation: Mar 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11205

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  1. Papaioannou, Elias & Siourounis, Gregorios, 2008. "Economic and social factors driving the third wave of democratization," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 365-387, September.
  2. 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.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2005. "From Education to Democracy?," NBER Working Papers 11204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
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  6. Acemoglu, Daron & Ventura, Jaume, 2001. "The World Income Distribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 2973, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. 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.
  8. Hausmann, Ricardo & Pritchett, Lant & Rodrik, Dani, 2004. "Growth Accelerations," Working Paper Series rwp04-030, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  9. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  10. Dani Rodrik, 1999. "Democracies Pay Higher Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 707-738, August.
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  15. Aart Kraay & Jaume Ventura, 2001. "Comparative Advantage and the Cross-section of Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 8104, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Blog mentions

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  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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