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Are Political Freedoms Converging?


  • Michael L. Nieswiadomy
  • Mark C. Strazicich


This article tests for convergence of freedom using Freedom House's (2002) indices of political rights and civil liberties in 136 countries from 1972 to 2001. Time-series tests, using structural breaks, are employed to test for stochastic and β-convergence. Cross-section tests are performed to examine the impact of legal systems, education, natural resources, economic freedom, and other variables. We find that political freedoms are converging for one-half of the countries. Additionally, we find that the level of freedom is significantly related to the legal system, education, economic freedom, and natural resources. (JEL O57, O40, C3) Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael L. Nieswiadomy & Mark C. Strazicich, 2004. "Are Political Freedoms Converging?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(2), pages 323-340, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:42:y:2004:i:2:p:323-340

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hassan Gholipour Fereidouni & Tajul Ariffin Masron & Reza Ekhtiari Amiri, 2011. "The effects of FDI on voice and accountability in the MENA region," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 38(9), pages 802-815, August.
    2. Cunado, J. & Perez de Gracia, F., 2006. "Real convergence in Africa in the second-half of the 20th century," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 153-167.
    3. Toke S. Aidt & Martin Gassebner, 2010. "Do Autocratic States Trade Less?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 24(1), pages 38-76, January.
    4. Martin Gassebner & Michael J. Lamla & James Raymond Vreeland, 2013. "Extreme Bounds of Democracy," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 57(2), pages 171-197, April.
    5. John Dawson & Amit Sen, 2007. "New evidence on the convergence of international income from a group of 29 countries," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 199-230, September.
    6. Jac C. Heckelman, 2010. "Aid and Democratization in the Transition Economies," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(4), pages 558-579, November.
    7. Jac Heckelman, 2010. "Relationships among democratic freedoms in the former Soviet Republics: a causality analysis," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 80-96, March.
    8. Ataul Huq Pramanik, 2012. "Development and democratization from the perspective of Islamic world view: The role of civil society versus state in the Arab world," Humanomics: The International Journal of Systems and Ethics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 28(1), pages 5-25, February.
    9. Guillaume Daudin, 2005. "Les transactions de la mondialisation," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 92(1), pages 221-262.
    10. Ceylan, Reşat & Abiyev, Vasif, 2016. "An examination of convergence hypothesis for EU-15 countries," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 96-105.
    11. King, Alan & Ramlogan-Dobson, Carlyn, 2011. "Nonlinear time-series convergence: The role of structural breaks," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(3), pages 238-240, March.
    12. Mei-Se Chien, 2010. "Structural Breaks and the Convergence of Regional House Prices," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 77-88, January.
    13. Marco Barassi & Matthew Cole & Robert Elliott, 2011. "The Stochastic Convergence of CO 2 Emissions: A Long Memory Approach," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 49(3), pages 367-385, July.
    14. Juncal Cunado & Fernando Perez de Gracia, 2006. "Real convergence in some Central and Eastern European countries," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(20), pages 2433-2441.
    15. Usman Khalid, 2016. "Catch-up in Institutional Quality: An Empirical Assessment," Discussion Papers 2016-04, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    16. Nabamita Dutta & Sanjukta Roy, 2009. "The Impact of Foreign Direct Investment on Press Freedom," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 239-257, April.
    17. Narayan, Paresh Kumar & Smyth, Russell, 2006. "Democracy and Economic Growth in China: Evidence from Cointegration and Causality Testing," Review of Applied Economics, Review of Applied Economics, vol. 2(1).
    18. Diego Romero-Ávila, 2009. "The Convergence Hypothesis For Oecd Countries Reconsidered: Panel Data Evidence With Multiple Breaks, 1870-2003," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 77(4), pages 552-574, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • C3 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables


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