Democracy, Government Spending, and Economic Growth: A Political-Economic Explanation of the Barro-Effect
The paper develops a political economic argument for the recently observed inverse u-shaped relation between the level of democracy and economic performance. A model is constructed that shows why and how political participation influences the spending behavior of opportunistic governments that can choose an optimal combination of rents and public goods to attract political support. If the level of democracy remains comparably low, governments rationally choose rents as an instrument to assure political support. With increasing democratic participation, however, rents become an increasingly expensive instrument while the provision of public goods becomes more and more efficient in ensuring the incumbent government's survival in power. As a consequence, an increase in democracy tends to raise growth rates of per capita income. However, the beneficial impact of democracy on growth holds true only for moderate degrees of political participation. If--in semi-democratic countries--political participation increases further, governments have an incentive to over-invest in the provision of public goods. This model allows to derive and test three hypothesis: Firstly, based on a simple endogenous growth model, we empirically substantiate our hypothesis of a non-linear, inverse u-shaped relation between the level of democracy and growth of per capita income. Secondly, we show that the impact of government spending on economic growth is higher in more democratic countries. Thirdly, we demonstrate that the level of democracy and government share of GDP are correlated in a u-shaped manner. Copyright 2003 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:117:y:2003:i:1-2:p:27-50. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla)or (Christopher F. Baum)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.