Dictatorship, Democratic Transitions, And Development
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.
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