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Unbundling democracy: Political rights and civil liberties

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  • BenYishay, Ariel
  • Betancourt, Roger

Abstract

Much recent political economy and political science literature views democracy in terms of political rights. This view, often referred to as electoral democracy, is particularly pronounced in the empirical literature. We reincorporate the role of civil liberties, which are at the core of modern democracy, in two ways. We identify four fundamental sources of potential differences in the evolution of political rights and civil liberties. We present systematic, robust and varied empirical evidence on the direct impact of two of these potential sources of differences using cross-national panel data and accounting for the modernization hypothesis. We obtain two noteworthy empirical results: civil liberties exhibit greater persistence than political rights in affecting subsequent outcomes; and, our main result, civil liberties are complementary to political rights when affecting subsequent outcomes, while the reverse is not the case. Consequently, one must incorporate civil liberties as a determinant of electoral democracy. More generally, both dimensions must be considered to understand the setbacks recently experienced by many democracies, despite their holding of free and fair elections.

Suggested Citation

  • BenYishay, Ariel & Betancourt, Roger, 2014. "Unbundling democracy: Political rights and civil liberties," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 552-568.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:42:y:2014:i:3:p:552-568
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2014.06.001
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    3. Giorgio LIOTTI & Marco MUSELLA & Federica D’ISANTO, 2018. "Does democracy improve human development? Evidence from former socialist countries," Eastern Journal of European Studies, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 9, pages 69-88, December.
    4. Pál Czeglédi, 2015. "Are both dimensions of property rights "efficient"?," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 12(1), pages 41-69, July.
    5. Coro CHASCO & Maricruz LACALLE-CALDERON & Javier ALFONSO-GIL, 2017. "Key determinants of civil liberty: a spatial analysis of 175 countries for the year 2010," Applied Econometrics and International Development, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 17(2), pages 19-32.
    6. You, Wan-Hai & Zhu, Hui-Ming & Yu, Keming & Peng, Cheng, 2015. "Democracy, Financial Openness, and Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions: Heterogeneity Across Existing Emission Levels," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 189-207.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political rights; Civil liberties; Democratization; Electoral democracy; Liberal democracy; Modernization hypothesis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • P00 - Economic Systems - - General - - - General
    • P14 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Property Rights
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative

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