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Income and democracy: Revisiting the evidence


  • Moral-Benito, Enrique
  • Bartolucci, Cristian


In an influential paper, Acemoglu et al. (2008) find that the positive correlation between income per capita and the level of democracy across countries vanishes once country-specific effects are accounted for. In this paper, we find evidence of a non-linear effect from income to democracy even after controlling for country-specific effects. In particular, our findings point to the existence of a positive effect only in low-income countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Moral-Benito, Enrique & Bartolucci, Cristian, 2012. "Income and democracy: Revisiting the evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 844-847.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:117:y:2012:i:3:p:844-847 DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2012.08.045

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alok Bhargava & J. D. Sargan, 2006. "Estimating Dynamic Random Effects Models From Panel Data Covering Short Time Periods," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Econometrics, Statistics And Computational Approaches In Food And Health Sciences, chapter 1, pages 3-27 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    5. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2008. "Income and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 808-842, June.
    6. Jess Benhabib & Alejandro Corvalen & Mark M. Spiegel, 2011. "Reestablishing the income-democracy nexus," Working Paper Series 2011-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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    15. Enrique Moral-Benito, 2011. "Dynamic panels with predetermined regressors: likelihood-based estimation and Bayesian averaging with an application to cross-country growth," Working Papers 1109, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fahad Hassan Khan, 2014. "From revenues to democracy?," Departmental Working Papers 2014-25, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    2. Saha, Shrabani & Zhang, Zhaoyong, 2017. "Democracy-growth nexus and its interaction effect on human development: A cross-national analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 304-310.
    3. Wadjamsse B. Djezou, 2014. "The Democracy and Economic Growth Nexus: Empirical Evidence from Côte d’Ivoire," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 11(2), pages 251-266, December.
    4. Kemnitz, Alexander & Roessler, Martin, 2017. "Economic development, democratic institutions, and repression in non-democratic regimes: Theory and evidence," CEPIE Working Papers 04/17, Technische Universität Dresden, Center of Public and International Economics (CEPIE).
    5. Suzanna-Maria Paleologou, 2015. "Income and democracy: the modernization hypothesis re-visited via alternative non-linear models," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 909-921, March.
    6. Christopher J. Ellis & John Fender, 2014. "Public Sector Capital and the Transition from Dictatorship to Democracy," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 82(3), pages 322-346, June.
    7. Heid, Benedikt & Langer, Julian & Larch, Mario, 2012. "Income and democracy: Evidence from system GMM estimates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 166-169.
    8. Benhabib, Jess & Corvalen, Alejandro & Spiegel, Mark M., 2014. "Modernization and Discrete Measures of Democracy," Working Paper Series 2014-1, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    9. repec:eee:ecanpo:v:55:y:2017:i:c:p:106-123 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Michal Madr, 2016. "Economic Development as a Factor of Democratisation: Evidence from Post-Socialist Economies," MENDELU Working Papers in Business and Economics 2016-70, Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Business and Economics.
    11. Filipe R. Campante & Davin Chor, 2012. "Why Was the Arab World Poised for Revolution? Schooling, Economic Opportunities, and the Arab Spring," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 167-188, Spring.
    12. Benhabib, Jess & Corvalan, Alejandro & Spiegel, Mark M., 2013. "Income and democracy: Evidence from nonlinear estimations," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(3), pages 489-492.
    13. Matteo Cervellati & Florian Jung & Uwe Sunde & Thomas Vischer, 2014. "Income and Democracy: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(2), pages 707-719, February.

    More about this item


    Democracy; Income; Lipset hypothesis; Panel data;

    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
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models


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