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Democratic capital: The nexus of political and economic change

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  • Torsten Persson
  • Guido Tabellini

Abstract

We study the joint dynamics of economic and political change. Predictions of the simple model that we formulate in the paper get considerable support in a panel of data on political regimes and GDP per capita for about 150 countries over 150 years. Democratic capital — measured by a nation’s historical experience with democracy and by the incidence of democracy in its neighborhood — reduces the exit rate from democracy and raises the exit rate from autocracy. In democracies, a higher stock of democratic capital stimulates growth in an indirect way by decreasing the probability of a sucessful coup. Our results suggest a virtuous circle, where the accumulation of physical and democratic capital reinforce each other, promoting economic development jointly with the consolidation of democracy.

Suggested Citation

  • Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2006. "Democratic capital: The nexus of political and economic change," Working Papers 308, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:308
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative

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