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No Country for Old Men: Aging Dictators and Economic Growth

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  • Richard Jong-A-Pin
  • Jochen O. Mierau

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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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers CEB with number 11-039.

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Length: 34 p.
Date of creation: Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by:
Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/97265

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

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
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  5. 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.
  6. José Cheibub & Jennifer Gandhi & James Vreeland, 2010. "Democracy and dictatorship revisited," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 143(1), pages 67-101, April.
  7. 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.
  8. Simon Johnson & William Larson & Chris Papageorgiou & Arvind Subramanian, 2009. "Is Newer Better? Penn World Table Revisions and Their Impact on Growth Estimates," Working Papers 191, Center for Global Development.
  9. 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.
  10. Fabrizio Carmignani, 2003. "Political Instability, Uncertainty and Economics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 1-54, February.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
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