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Democracy Does Not Cause Growth: The Importance of Endogeneity Arguments

Listed author(s):
  • Julia Ruiz Pozuelo
  • Amy Slipowitz
  • Guillermo Vuletin

This article challenges recent findings that democracy has sizable effects on economic growth. As extensive political science research indicates that economic turmoil is responsible for causing or facilitating many democratic transitions, the paper focuses on this endogeneity concern. Using a worldwide survey of 165 country-specific democracy experts conducted for this study, the paper separates democratic transitions into those occurring for reasons related to economic turmoil, here called endogenous, and those grounded in reasons more exogenous to economic growth. The behavior of economic growth following these more exogenous democratizations strongly indicates that democracy does not cause growth. Consequently, the common positive association between democracy and economic growth is driven by endogenous democratization episodes (i. e. , due to faulty identification).

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank in its series IDB Publications (Working Papers) with number 95018.

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Date of creation: Jun 2016
Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:95018
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  1. Elias Papaioannou & Gregorios Siourounis, 2008. "Democratisation and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(532), pages 1520-1551, October.
  2. Robert J. Barro, 1998. "Determinants of Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Empirical Study," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522543, July.
  3. Carlos A Vegh & Guillermo Vuletin, 2014. "The Road to Redemption: Policy Response to Crises in Latin America," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 62(4), pages 526-568, November.
  4. Helliwell, John F., 1994. "Empirical Linkages Between Democracy and Economic Growth," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(02), pages 225-248, April.
  5. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2010. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes: Estimates Based on a New Measure of Fiscal Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 763-801, June.
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  7. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2009. "Democratic Capital: The Nexus of Political and Economic Change," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 88-126, July.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2005. "From Education to Democracy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 44-49, May.
  9. 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.
  10. Riera-Crichton, Daniel & Vegh, Carlos A. & Vuletin, Guillermo, 2016. "Tax multipliers: Pitfalls in measurement and identification," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 30-48.
  11. Saint-Paul, Gilles & Verdier, Thierry, 1993. "Education, democracy and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 399-407, December.
  12. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
  13. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1985. "External Debt and Macroeconomic Performance in Latin America and East Asia," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 16(2), pages 523-573.
  14. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
  15. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  16. José Cheibub & Jennifer Gandhi & James Vreeland, 2010. "Democracy and dictatorship revisited," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 143(1), pages 67-101, April.
  17. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
  18. Robert J. Barro, 1997. "Getting It Right: Markets and Choices in a Free Society," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522268, July.
  19. Olivier Coibion, 2012. "Are the Effects of Monetary Policy Shocks Big or Small?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 1-32, April.
  20. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
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