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Voice and Growth: Was Churchill Right?

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  • LINDERT, PETER H.

Abstract

The debate over whether political democracy is the least bad regime, as Churchill said, remains unresolved because history has been misread, and because statistical studies have chosen the wrong tests. This address reinterprets five key experiences to show how the institutional channels linking voice and growth are evolving with the economy. Until the early nineteenth century, the key institutional link was property-rights and contract enforcement. Since then, the human-investment channel has assumed an ever-greater role. Elite rule damages growth by underinvesting in egalitarian human capital, especially primary schooling, relative to historical norms for successful economies.This Presidential Address was delivered at the Economic History Association Annual Meeting, 12 October 2002, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Suggested Citation

  • Lindert, Peter H., 2003. "Voice and Growth: Was Churchill Right?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 315-350, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:63:y:2003:i:02:p:315-350_00
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    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative

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