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Democratic Capital: The Nexus of Political and Economic Change

  • Torsten Persson
  • Guido Tabellini

We study the dynamics of economic and political change, theoretically and empirically. Democratic capital measured by a nation's historical experience with democracy, and the incidence of democracy in its neighborhood, appears to reduce exit rates from democracy and raise exit rates from autocracy. Higher democratic capital stimulates growth by increasing the stability of democracies. Heterogeneous effects of democracy induce sorting of countries into political regimes, which helps explain systematic differences between democracies and autocracies. Our results suggest the possibility of a virtuous circle, where accumulation of physical and democratic capital reinforce each other, promoting economic development and consolidation of democracy. (JEL D72, I31, N10, N40, O47)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 88-126

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:1:y:2009:i:2:p:88-126
Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.1.2.88
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  1. Guido Tabellini, 2006. "Culture and institutions: economic development in the regions of Europe," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000466, David K. Levine.
  2. Edward Glaeser & Giacomo Ponzetto & Andrei Shleifer, 2006. "Why Does Democracy Need Education?," NBER Working Papers 12128, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Elias Papaioannou & Gregorios Siourounis, 2007. "Democratization And Growth," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 07-13, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  13. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," NBER Working Papers 10568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  19. 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.
  20. Barro, Robert J, 1996. " Democracy and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, March.
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