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Democracy as a Middle Ground: A Uni…ed Theory of Development and Political Regimes

Author

Listed:
  • Larsson, Anna

    () (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University)

  • Parente, Stephen

    () (University of Illinois)

Abstract

A large literature documents that autocratic regimes have not, on average, outperformed democratic regimes, although they do display greater variance in economic performance. At the same time, no long-lived autocracy currently is rich whereas every long-lived democracy is. This paper puts forth a theory to account for these observations. The theory rests on the idea that autocratic leaders are heterogenous in their preferences and the idea that special interest groups can successfully lobby a democratic regime for policies that delay industrialization. We show that an elite landed class chooses to democratize society only after the economy has accumulated enough wealth.

Suggested Citation

  • Larsson, Anna & Parente, Stephen, 2010. "Democracy as a Middle Ground: A Uni…ed Theory of Development and Political Regimes," Research Papers in Economics 2010:7, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2010_0007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Xavier Sala-i-Martin & Arvind Subramanian, 2013. "Addressing the Natural Resource Curse: An Illustration from Nigeria," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 22(4), pages 570-615, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Akerman, Anders & Larsson, Anna & Naghavi, Alireza, 2011. "Autocracies and Development in a Global Economy: A Tale of Two Elites," Research Papers in Economics 2011:24, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Autocracy; Democracy; Landed Elites; Growth Miracles; Vested Interests;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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