IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Democracy and trade: an empirical study

  • Jessica Decker


  • Jamus Lim


The theoretical discussion on globalization has suggested that there are linkages between democracy and trade, although the direction of influence is less certain. Formal empirical studies remain scarce, and have often focused on the question of whether democratic regimes influence trade policy, as opposed to the actual relationship between democracy and trade. This paper seeks to answer the question, ``Do democracies trade more?'' by applying the gravity equation to a large dataset of bilateral trade data for the period 1948-1999, while taking into account the role of democracy. It finds that democracy has a positive effect on trade flows, but only after controlling for trade pair heterogeneity. In addition, it makes the case for studies of this nature to draw a distinction between trade flows in the pre- and post-1990s period of rapid democratization as well as between developed and developing countries.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

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.

Article provided by Springer in its journal Economics of Governance.

Volume (Year): 10 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 165-186

in new window

Handle: RePEc:spr:ecogov:v:10:y:2009:i:2:p:165-186
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2005. "Income and Democracy," NBER Working Papers 11205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Tavares, Jose & Wacziarg, Romain, 2001. "How democracy affects growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1341-1378, August.
  3. Mayer, Wolfgang, 1984. "Endogenous Tariff Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 970-85, December.
  4. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1992. "Protection For Sale," NBER Working Papers 4149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  6. Barro, Robert J., 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Scholarly Articles 3451297, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Robert C. Feenstra & James R. Markusen & Andrew K. Rose, 2001. "Using the gravity equation to differentiate among alternative theories of trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 430-447, May.
  8. Devashish Mitra & Dimitrios D. Thomakos & Mehmet A. Ulubaşoglu, 2002. ""Protection For Sale" In A Developing Country: Democracy Vs. Dictatorship," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 497-508, August.
  9. O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj & Taylor, Alan M., 2006. "Democracy and Protectionism," CEPR Discussion Papers 5698, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Venet, Baptiste & Hurlin, Christophe, 2001. "Granger Causality Tests in Panel Data Models with Fixed Coefficients," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/6159, Paris Dauphine University.
  11. Milner, Helen V. & Kubota, Keiko, 2005. "Why the Move to Free Trade? Democracy and Trade Policy in the Developing Countries," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(01), pages 107-143, January.
  12. Mansfield, Edward D. & Milner, Helen V. & Rosendorff, B. Peter, 2002. "Why Democracies Cooperate More: Electoral Control and International Trade Agreements," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(03), pages 477-513, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:ecogov:v:10:y:2009:i:2:p:165-186. 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.