IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Poverty Effect of Democratization: Disaggregating Democratic Institutions


  • Christoph Doerffel

    (Friedrich Schiller University Jena)


This paper analyzes which institutional features contribute to poverty reduction when countries democratize. For this, theories and data are used that distinguish between different areas of democratic institutions – namely electoral, liberal, participatory, deliberative, and egalitarian democratic institutions. The data analysis uses semi-parametric treatment effects estimates to estimate average treatment effects of democratization on poverty reduction and estimates this separately for countries with relatively weaker and stronger institutions at the time of democratization. The estimations reveal no clear pattern of a specific, predominant area of institutions while others are remain less important. In each area of institutions, some of its features contribute to poverty reduction and some do not. Especially, the hypothesis that stronger institutions lead to poverty reduction cannot confirmed. Stronger institutions only lead to significant poverty reduction for the institutions of executive and legislative being elected, and judicial constraints on the executive. For most other significant effects, weaker institutions lead to poverty reduction. This is likely due to triggered changes in institutions by democratization that only occur when institutions are still relatively weak, rather than due to growth or inequality changes. When the effect of democratization on poverty reduction is significant, it is meaningful in size (ranging from around 12 to 25 percent during the first five years after democratization, depending on the specific mid- and low-level institution). The pattern is the clearest for deliberative, participatory, and egalitarian institutions and less clear for electoral and liberal democratic institutions. This illustrates that institutions which capture how responsive policymaking is to its constituencies are more important for poverty reduction than institutions that capture formal aspects of democracy.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Doerffel, 2021. "The Poverty Effect of Democratization: Disaggregating Democratic Institutions," Jena Economic Research Papers 2021-018, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2021-018

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Poverty; Democracy; Human Development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2021-018. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Markus Pasche (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.