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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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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Padamja Khandelwal & Agustin Roitman, 2013. "The Economics of Political Transitions; Implications for the Arab Spring," IMF Working Papers 13/69, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Amin, Mohammad & Djankov, Simeon, 2014. "Democratic institutions and regulatory reforms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 839-854.
    5. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    political transition; autocracy; event study;

    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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