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Democracy and Development: The Devil in the Details

  • Torsten Persson
  • Guido Tabellini

Does democracy promote economic development? This paper reviews recent attempts to address this question that exploited within-country variation. It shows that the answer is largely positive, but also depends on the details of democratic reforms. First, the sequence of economic vs political reforms matters: countries liberalizing their economy before extending political rights do better. Second, different forms of democratic government lead to different economic policies, and this might explain why presidential democracy leads to faster growth than parliamentary democracy. Third, it is important to distinguish between expected and actual political reforms. Taking expectations of regime change into account helps identify a stronger growth effect of democracy.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/000282806777212396
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 96 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 319-324

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:96:y:2006:i:2:p:319-324
Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282806777212396
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  1. Elias Papaioannou & Gregorios Siourounis, 2007. "Democratization And Growth," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 07-13, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  2. Persson, Torsten, 2005. "Forms of Democracy, Policy and Economic Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 4938, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Constitutional Rules and Fiscal Policy Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 25-45, March.
  4. Francesco Giavazzi & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Economic and Political Liberalizations," NBER Working Papers 10657, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "The Economic Effects of Constitutions," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661926, June.
  6. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
  7. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 2006. "Democratic Capital: The Nexus of Political and Economic Change," CEPR Discussion Papers 5654, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Dani Rodrik & Romain Wacziarg, 2005. "Do Democratic Transitions Produce Bad Economic Outcomes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 50-55, May.
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