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Dictatorship, Democratic Transitions, And Development

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  • Mark Gradstein

    () (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)

Abstract

In this paper, employing the political agency framework, we revisit the comparison between autocracy and democracy with respect to their effect on growth outcomes. We find that ability to replace an incumbent political leader through election is no guarantee in itself for the welfare superiority of the latter regime; in fact, the opposite consequence may result. Legislative constraints on expropriation are shown to have the potential to enhance the welfare advantage of election, whereas moral hazard reduces the ability of election to effectively screen incumbent political leaders and thereby reduces welfare. Endogenous initiation of democratic transitions will be done by autocratic rulers under the threat of removal from office. Implications of the latter result are discussed in the light of recent democratization episodes in Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Gradstein, 2011. "Dictatorship, Democratic Transitions, And Development," Working Papers 1104, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bgu:wpaper:1104
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    File URL: http://in.bgu.ac.il/en/humsos/Econ/Workingpapers/1104.pdf
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    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. Besley, Timothy & Kudamatsu, Masayuki, 2007. "Making autocracy work," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3764, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. 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.
    4. Adam Przeworski & Fernando Limongi, 1993. "Political Regimes and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 51-69, Summer.
    5. 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.
    6. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2008. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil's Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 703-745.
    7. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1034-1054.
    8. Peter T. Leeson, 2008. "Media Freedom, Political Knowledge, and Participation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 155-169, Spring.
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    Keywords

    autocracy; democracy;

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