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Regime Change, Democracy, and Growth

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  • Caroline Freund

    (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

  • Mélise Jaud

    (World Bank)

Abstract

The empirical literature on the relationship between democracy and growth has yielded conflicting results. Cross-country studies have failed to identify a significant impact of democracy on growth, while within-country studies have found a strong positive effect of the transition to democracy on growth. We reconcile the conflicting evidence by showing that the positive effect of democratic transitions results from regime change as opposed to democratization. We identify over 100 transitions in the last half-century with various outcomes: to and from democracy, some partial, and some failed. The variety of experiences allows us to compare the growth outcome of democratic transitions with that of other transitions rather than with a no-transition counterfactual. Conditioning on regime change filters out selection effects and shows that transition to democracy yields no growth dividend compared to other types of regime change. We also show that countries that democratize slowly do not gain from regime change. These results suggest that the growth dividend from political transition results from swift regime change rather than from democratization.

Suggested Citation

  • Caroline Freund & Mélise Jaud, 2014. "Regime Change, Democracy, and Growth," Working Paper Series WP14-1, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp14-1
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    2. Caroline Freund & Melise Jaud, 2014. "On The Determinants Of Democratic Transitions," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Ishac Diwan (ed.), UNDERSTANDING THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF THE ARAB UPRISINGS, chapter 5, pages 81-110, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    3. Padamja Khandelwal & Agustin Roitman, 2013. "The Economics of Political Transitions: Implications for the Arab Spring," IMF Working Papers 2013/069, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Khalid Sekkat, 2016. "A time to throw stones, a time to reap: How long does it take for democratic transitions to improve institutional outcomes?," Working Papers CEB 16-016, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    5. Eugene Kouassi & Sandotin Coulibaly & Oluyele Akinkugbe & Mbodja Mougoué, 2021. "The democracy income‐growth nexus in the southern African development community revisited," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(2), pages 1835-1854, April.
    6. Mahmoud Arayssi & Ali Fakih & Nathir Haimoun, 2019. "Did the Arab Spring reduce MENA countries’ growth?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(19), pages 1579-1585, November.
    7. Adams, Samuel & Klobodu, Edem Kwame Mensah, 2016. "Remittances, regime durability and economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 1-8.
    8. Shereen Nosier & Aya El-Karamani, 2018. "The Indirect Effect of Democracy on Economic Growth in the MENA Region (1990–2015)," Economies, MDPI, vol. 6(4), pages 1-24, November.
    9. Cervellati, Matteo & Fortunato, Piergiuseppe & Sunde, Uwe, 2014. "Violence during democratization and the quality of democratic institutions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 226-247.
    10. Amin, Mohammad & Djankov, Simeon, 2014. "Democratic institutions and regulatory reforms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 839-854.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    political transition; autocracy; event study;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

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