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Democracy, History, and Economic Performance: A Case-Study Approach

  • Gerring, John
  • Kingstone, Peter
  • Lange, Matthew
  • Sinha, Aseema
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    Crossnational statistical studies show a positive relationship between the length of time a country has been democratic and its economic performance. Old democracies grow faster, ceteris paribus, and also demonstrate advantages in some economic policies thought to be conducive to growth. However, the causal connections between regime history and economic policy and performance remain opaque. Arguments are highly speculative, for the causal pathways are usually difficult to measure and are not readily testable in a large-N cross-country format. In order to illuminate possible interconnections between regime history and economic performance we identify three countries in the developing world whose recent history may be regarded as illustrative: Brazil, India, and Mauritius. Our analysis of these cases focuses on the achievement of policy consensus and policy reform, both of which are commonly regarded as critical to economic performance. Intensive study of our chosen cases suggests multiple mechanisms by which democratic experience might translate into greater success on these policy dimensions.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 10 ()
    Pages: 1735-1748

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:39:y:2011:i:10:p:1735-1748
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

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    1. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2009. "Democratic Capital: The Nexus of Political and Economic Change," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 88-126, July.
    2. Sinha Aseema, 2005. "Understanding the Rise and Transformation of Business Collective Action in India," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-37, August.
    3. repec:wbk:wbpubs:12426 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Armijo, Leslie Elliott, 2005. "Mass democracy: The real reason that Brazil ended inflation?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 2013-2027, December.
    5. Bhagwati, Jagdish, 1993. "India in Transition: Freeing the Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288473, March.
    6. Kohli, Atul, 1989. "Politics of economic liberalization in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 305-328, March.
    7. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin & Ricard Gil, 2003. "Do Democracies Have Different Public Policies than Nondemocracies?," NBER Working Papers 10040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman & Reis Soares, Rodrigo, 2001. "Accountability and corruption : political institutions matter," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2708, The World Bank.
    9. Hristos Doucouliagos & Mehmet Ulubasoglu, 2006. "Democracy and Economic Growth: A Meta-Analysis," Economics Series 2006_04, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
    10. World Bank, 2005. "World Development Indicators 2005," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 12425.
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