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Baltic Dry Index and the democratic window of opportunity

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  • Lin, Faqin
  • Sim, Nicholas C.S.

Abstract

In their seminal paper, Brückner and Ciccone (2011) document that a significant effect of democratic change may be triggered by negative transitory economic shocks, and that rainfall can open a democratic window of opportunity in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). As a complement, this paper uses within-country variation in the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) as a source of transitory negative income shocks to SSA countries. The BDI reflects the cost of utilizing dry bulk carriers, which are specially designed vessels for transporting primary goods internationally, where these goods dominate the output and export sectors of the SSA economies. We find that positive BDI cost shocks are followed by significant contraction in income through trade channel and significant improvement in democratic institutions, where BDI can open a window of opportunity for democratic improvement. Instrumental variables estimates indicate that following a negative income shock of one percentage point, democracy scores improve by around 4–5 percentage points on average.

Suggested Citation

  • Lin, Faqin & Sim, Nicholas C.S., 2014. "Baltic Dry Index and the democratic window of opportunity," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 143-159.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:42:y:2014:i:1:p:143-159
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2013.10.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Tian, Jilin & Sim, Nicholas & Yan, Wenshou & Li, Yanyun, 2020. "Trade uncertainty, income, and democracy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 21-31.
    2. Paul Maarek & Michael T. Borsch, 2014. "Recessions, Inequality, and Democratization," THEMA Working Papers 2014-19, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    3. Dorsch, Michael T. & Maarek, Paul, 2020. "Economic downturns, inequality, and democratic improvements," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    4. Fotis Papailias & Dimitrios D. Thomakos & Jiadong Liu, 2017. "The Baltic Dry Index: cyclicalities, forecasting and hedging strategies," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 52(1), pages 255-282, February.
    5. Lin, Faqin, 2015. "Learning by exporting effect in China revisited: An instrumental Approach," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 1-13.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Democracy; Income; Baltic Dry Index; Instrument variable;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations

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