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Democracy and Development: The Devil in the Details

  • Torsten Persson
  • Guido Tabellini

Does democracy promote economic development? We review recent attempts to addresses this question, which exploit the within-country variation associated with historical transitions in and out of democracy. The answer is positive, but depends - in a subtle way - on the details of democratic reforms. First, democratizations and economic liberalizations in isolation each induce growth accelerations, but countries liberalizing their economy before extending political rights do better than those carrying out the opposite sequence. Second, different forms of democratic government and different electoral systems lead to different fiscal and trade policies: this might explain why new presidential democracies grow faster than new parliamentary democracies. Third, it is important to distinguish between expected and actual political reforms: expectations of regime change have an independent effect on growth, and taking expectations into account helps identify a stronger growth effect of democracy.

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Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 122247000000001139.

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Date of creation: 08 Feb 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:122247000000001139
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  1. Francesco Giavazzi & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Economic and Political Liberalizations," Working Papers 264, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  2. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2006. "Democratic capital: The nexus of political and economic change," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001304, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Constitutional Rules and Fiscal Policy Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 25-45, March.
  4. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "The Economic Effects of Constitutions," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661926, June.
  5. Elias Papaioannou & Gregorios Siourounis, 2007. "Democratization And Growth," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 07-13, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  6. Torsten Persson, 2005. "Forms of Democracy, Policy and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 11171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jeffrey Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Progress of Global Integration," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1733, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. 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.
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