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Trade uncertainty, income, and democracy

Author

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  • Tian, Jilin
  • Sim, Nicholas
  • Yan, Wenshou
  • Li, Yanyun

Abstract

Existing studies establish a strong correlation between income and democracy. Little, however, is known about whether income shocks driven by non-economic fundamentals matter for political transitions. This study employs trade uncertainty as a non-economic fundamental and examines the effect that trade uncertainty driven income variations have on democratic transitions over the period 1960–2013. We find that higher income fosters democratic transitions, but this effect works mainly for developing than developed countries. Specifically, using trade uncertainty as an instrument, we find that the Polity2 score, a measure of democracy, increases by at least 2.3 points following a 1 percentage point increase in GDP growth. This positive association is robust to exploiting conditional heteroskedasticity for identification, using different time periods, including lagged Polity2 as a regressor, and using alternative measures of GDP and democracy.

Suggested Citation

  • Tian, Jilin & Sim, Nicholas & Yan, Wenshou & Li, Yanyun, 2020. "Trade uncertainty, income, and democracy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 21-31.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:90:y:2020:i:c:p:21-31
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2020.04.022
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trade uncertainty; Economic shock; Democratization; Polity score; Instrumental variable;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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