IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/sae/intare/v15y2012i4p393-415.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Democracy and economic growth: A survey of arguments and results

Author

Listed:
  • Carl Henrik Knutsen

Abstract

This paper surveys the literature on how democracy affects economic growth. The paper first presents descriptive statistics and brief case-descriptions to illustrate how democracy and dictatorship may affect growth. Thereafter, it evaluates five central arguments on democracy and growth, before surveying empirical studies on the relationship. Furthermore, the paper highlights critical methodological challenges, and draws implications for constructing valid models for empirical research on the topic. The review shows that there is still disagreement over whether democracy enhances growth or not. Nevertheless, in the light of more recent studies, using better methodological approaches and more data than previous studies, two trends are recognizable: first, the hypothesis that democracy reduces economic growth is refuted by recent studies; second, the hypothesis that democracy has no effect on growth, although still widespread in the academic community, seems less plausible today than it did 10 or 20 years ago. Several recent studies show that democracy has positive effects on growth, although these effects are ‘indirect’ in the sense that democracy affects growth through, for example, enhancing human capital or strengthening the protection of property rights.

Suggested Citation

  • Carl Henrik Knutsen, 2012. "Democracy and economic growth: A survey of arguments and results," International Area Studies Review, Center for International Area Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, vol. 15(4), pages 393-415, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:intare:v:15:y:2012:i:4:p:393-415
    DOI: 10.1177/2233865912455268
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2233865912455268
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1177/2233865912455268?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Elias Papaioannou & Gregorios Siourounis, 2008. "Democratisation and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(532), pages 1520-1551, October.
    2. Martin C. McGuire & Mancur Olson, 1998. "The Economics of Autocracy and Majority Rule: The Invisible Hand and the Use of Force," International Economic Association Series, in: Silvio Borner & Martin Paldam (ed.), The Political Dimension of Economic Growth, chapter 3, pages 38-73, Palgrave Macmillan.
    3. Krieckhaus, Jonathan, 2004. "The Regime Debate Revisted: A Sensitivity Analysis of Democracy's Economic Effect," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(4), pages 635-655, October.
    4. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 131-165, June.
    5. Dani Rodrik, 1999. "Democracies Pay Higher Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 707-738.
    6. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2006. "Democracy and Development: The Devil in the Details," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 319-324, May.
    7. Robert J. Barro, 1998. "Determinants of Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Empirical Study," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522543.
    8. Leblang, David A., 1997. "Political Democracy and Economic Growth: Pooled Cross-Sectional and Time-Series Evidence," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(3), pages 453-472, July.
    9. Helliwell, John F., 1994. "Empirical Linkages Between Democracy and Economic Growth," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(2), pages 225-248, April.
    10. Adam Przeworski & Fernando Limongi, 1993. "Political Regimes and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 51-69, Summer.
    11. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2008. "Income and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 808-842, June.
    12. Dani Rodrik & Romain Wacziarg, 2005. "Do Democratic Transitions Produce Bad Economic Outcomes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 50-55, May.
    13. Matthew A. Baum & David A. Lake, 2003. "The Political Economy of Growth: Democracy and Human Capital," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 47(2), pages 333-347, April.
    14. De Long, J Bradford & Shleifer, Andrei, 1993. "Princes and Merchants: European City Growth before the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 671-702, October.
    15. Sah, Raaj Kumar & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1986. "The Architecture of Economic Systems: Hierarchies and Polyarchies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 716-727, September.
    16. Heckman, James J, 1978. "Dummy Endogenous Variables in a Simultaneous Equation System," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(4), pages 931-959, July.
    17. James A. Robinson, 1998. "Theories of “bad policy”," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 1-46.
    18. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    19. Tavares, Jose & Wacziarg, Romain, 2001. "How democracy affects growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1341-1378, August.
    20. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1995. "Institutions and Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Indicators," MPRA Paper 23118, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-963, September.
    22. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    23. Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009. "Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422, February.
    24. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 803-832, December.
    25. Douglass C. North, 2005. "Introduction to Understanding the Process of Economic Change," Introductory Chapters, in: Understanding the Process of Economic Change, Princeton University Press.
    26. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864.
    27. Joseph Wright, 2008. "Do Authoritarian Institutions Constrain? How Legislatures Affect Economic Growth and Investment," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 52(2), pages 322-343, April.
    28. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A., 2006. "Economic Backwardness in Political Perspective," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 100(1), pages 115-131, February.
    29. Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1997. "I Just Ran Two Million Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 178-183, May.
    30. James Honaker & Gary King, 2010. "What to Do about Missing Values in Time‐Series Cross‐Section Data," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 54(2), pages 561-581, April.
    31. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    32. Wintrobe, Ronald, 1990. "The Tinpot and the Totalitarian: An Economic Theory of Dictatorship," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 849-872, September.
    33. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
    34. Michael Rock, 2009. "Corruption and Democracy," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1), pages 55-75.
    35. Hristos Doucouliagos & Mehmet Ali Ulubaşoğlu, 2008. "Democracy and Economic Growth: A Meta‐Analysis," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 52(1), pages 61-83, January.
    36. Yi Feng, 2005. "Democracy, Governance, and Economic Performance: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262562111.
    37. Brunetti, Aymo, 1997. "Political Variables in Cross-Country Growth Analysis," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(2), pages 163-190, June.
    38. David Stasavage, 2005. "Democracy and Education Spending in Africa," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 49(2), pages 343-358, April.
    39. Alwyn Young, 1995. "The Tyranny of Numbers: Confronting the Statistical Realities of the East Asian Growth Experience," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 641-680.
    40. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
    41. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
    42. Jakob Haan, 2007. "Political institutions and economic growth reconsidered," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 281-292, June.
    43. Krieckhaus, Jonathan, 2006. "Democracy and Economic Growth: How Regional Context Influences Regime Effects," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(2), pages 317-340, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Myint Moe Chit, 2018. "Political openness and the growth of small and medium enterprises: empirical evidence from transition economies," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 55(2), pages 781-804, September.
    2. Klaus Gründler & Tommy Krieger, 2019. "Should We Care (More) About Data Aggregation? Evidence from Democracy Indices," CESifo Working Paper Series 7480, CESifo.
    3. Rui Tang & Shiping Tang, 2018. "Democracy's Unique Advantage in Promoting Economic Growth: Quantitative Evidence for a New Institutional Theory," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(4), pages 642-666, November.
    4. Marco Colagrossi & Domenico Rossignoli & Mario A. Maggioni, 2017. "Does democracy cause growth? A meta-analysis perspective," DISEIS - Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia internazionale, delle istituzioni e dello sviluppo dis1703, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimento di Economia internazionale, delle istituzioni e dello sviluppo (DISEIS).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Carl Henrik Knutsen, 2015. "Why Democracies Outgrow Autocracies in the Long Run: Civil Liberties, Information Flows and Technological Change," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 357-384, August.
    2. John A Doces, 2020. "Democracy, consumption, and growth in sub-Saharan Africa," International Area Studies Review, Center for International Area Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, vol. 23(1), pages 28-48, March.
    3. Wafa Ghardallou & Dorsaf Sridi, 2020. "Democracy and Economic Growth: a Literature Review," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 11(3), pages 982-1002, September.
    4. Cingolani, Luciana & Crombrugghe, Denis de, 2012. "Techniques for dealing with reverse causality between institutions and economic performance," MERIT Working Papers 2012-034, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    5. Knutsen, Carl Henrik, 2013. "Democracy, State Capacity, and Economic Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1-18.
    6. Colagrossi, Marco & Rossignoli, Domenico & Maggioni, Mario A., 2020. "Does democracy cause growth? A meta-analysis (of 2000 regressions)," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    7. Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Khalid Sekkat, 2016. "A time to throw stones, a time to reap: How long does it take for democratic transitions to improve institutional outcomes?," Working Papers CEB 16-016, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. Madsen, Jakob B. & Raschky, Paul A. & Skali, Ahmed, 2015. "Does democracy drive income in the world, 1500–2000?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 175-195.
    9. Masayuki Kudamatsu, 2012. "Has Democratization Reduced Infant Mortality In Sub-Saharan Africa? Evidence From Micro Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(6), pages 1294-1317, December.
    10. Mulligan, Casey B. & Tsui, Kevin K., 2015. "Political entry, public policies, and the economy," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 377-397.
    11. Elias Papaioannou & Gregorios Siourounis, 2008. "Democratisation and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(532), pages 1520-1551, October.
    12. Sambit Bhattacharyya, 2011. "Growth Miracles and Growth Debacles," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13609.
    13. Matteo Cervellati & Piergiuseppe Fortunato & Uwe Sunde, 2008. "Hobbes to Rousseau: Inequality, Institutions and Development," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(531), pages 1354-1384, August.
    14. Ruiz Pozuelo, Julia & Slipowitz, Amy & Vuletin, Guillermo, 2016. "Democracy Does Not Cause Growth: The Importance of Endogeneity Arguments," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 7758, Inter-American Development Bank.
    15. Stefan Voigt, 2011. "Positive constitutional economics II—a survey of recent developments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 205-256, January.
    16. Daron Acemoglu & Suresh Naidu & Pascual Restrepo & James A. Robinson, 2019. "Democracy Does Cause Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 127(1), pages 47-100.
    17. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A., 2005. "Institutions as a Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 385-472, Elsevier.
    18. Besley, Timothy & Kudamatsu, Masayuki, 2007. "Making autocracy work," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3764, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    19. Cervellati, Matteo & Fortunato, Piergiuseppe & Sunde, Uwe, 2011. "Democratization and Civil Liberties: The Role of Violence During the Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 8315, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Jeffrey Edwards & Frank Thames, 2010. "Growth volatility and the interaction between economic and political development," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 183-201, August.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:intare:v:15:y:2012:i:4:p:393-415. 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: . General contact details of provider: http://www.hufs.ac.kr/user/hufsenglish/re_1.jsp .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: SAGE Publications (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.hufs.ac.kr/user/hufsenglish/re_1.jsp .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.