IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Autocracies and Development in a Global Economy: A Tale of Two Elites

  • Anders Akerman


  • Anna Larsson


  • Alireza Naghavi


Data on the growth performances of countries with similar comparative (dis)advantage and political institutions reveal a striking variation across world regions. While some former autoc- racies such as the East Asian growth miracles have done remarkably well; others such as the Latin American economies have grown at much lower rates. In this paper; we propose a political economy explanation of these diverging paths of development by addressing the preferences of the country?s political elite. We build a theoretical framework where factors of production owned by the political elites di¤er across countries. In each country; the incumbent autocrat will cater to the preferences of the elites when setting trade policy and the property rights regime. We show how stronger property rights may lead to capital accumulation and labor reallocation to the manufacturing sector. This; in turn; can lead to a shift in the comparative advantage; a decision to open up to trade and an in?ow of more productive foreign capital. Consistent with a set of stylised facts on East Asia and Latin America; we argue that strong property rights are crucial for success upon globalization.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi" in its series Center for Economic Research (RECent) with number 065.

in new window

Length: pages 39
Date of creation: Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mod:recent:065
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Barriers to Riches," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661306, June.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2008. "Income and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 808-42, June.
  3. J. Peter Neary, 1995. "Factor Mobility and International Trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(s1), pages 4-23, November.
  4. Josef Falkinger & Volker Grossmann, 2004. "Institutions and Development: The Interaction between Trade Regime and Political System," CESifo Working Paper Series 1279, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Taylor, Alan M., 1998. "On the Costs of Inward-Looking Development: Price Distortions, Growth, and Divergence in Latin America," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(01), pages 1-28, March.
  6. Pol Antràs & Ricardo J. Caballero, 2009. "Trade and Capital Flows: A Financial Frictions Perspective," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(4), pages 701-744, 08.
  7. Wong, Kar-yiu, 1986. "Are international trade and factor mobility substitutes?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 25-43, August.
  8. Tasso Adamopoulos, 2008. "Land Inequality and the Transition to Modern Growth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(2), pages 257-282, April.
  9. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1996. "Some Lessons from the East Asian Miracle," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 151-77, August.
  10. 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.
  11. Galiani, Sebastian & Heymann, Daniel & Dabús, Carlos & Tohmé, Fernando, 2008. "On the emergence of public education in land-rich economies," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 434-446, June.
  12. James R. Markusen & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1983. "Trade in Goods and Factors with International Differences in Technology," NBER Working Papers 1101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Ling Shen, 2005. "When will a dictator be good?," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse22_2005, University of Bonn, Germany.
  14. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," NBER Working Papers 10568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Das Human Kapital," CEPR Discussion Papers 2701, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Rodrik, Dani, 1996. "Coordination failures and government policy: A model with applications to East Asia and Eastern Europe," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1-2), pages 1-22, February.
  17. Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009. "Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422.
  18. repec:oup:restud:v:76:y:2009:i:1:p:143-179 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer & Vollrath, Dietrich, 2008. "Inequality in Land Ownership, the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions and the Great Divergence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6751, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Facundo Albornoz & Sebastian Galiani & Daniel Heymann, 2008. "Investment and Expropriation under Oligarchy and Democracy in a Heckscher-Ohlin World," Discussion Papers 08-02, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  21. repec:oup:restud:v:73:y:2006:i:1:p:85-117 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Markusen, James R., 1983. "Factor movements and commodity trade as complements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3-4), pages 341-356, May.
  23. Philippe Aghion & Alberto Alesina & Francesco Trebbi, 2007. "Democracy, Technology, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 13180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:110:y:1995:i:3:p:641-80 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "Das Human Kapital: A Theory of the Demise of the Class Structure," GE, Growth, Math methods 0410003, EconWPA.
  26. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, June.
  27. Anderson, Kym, 1983. "Economic Growth, Comparative Advantage and Agricultural Trade of Pacific Rim Countries," Review of Marketing and Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 51(03), December.
  28. Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Getting Interventions Right: How South Korea and Taiwan Grew Rich," NBER Working Papers 4964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Margo, Robert A., 2006. "Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. By Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Pp. vii, 416. $35," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(02), pages 532-534, June.
  30. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1993. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth," Papers 537, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  31. Larsson, Anna & Parente, Stephen, 2010. "Democracy as a Middle Ground: A Uni…ed Theory of Development and Political Regimes," Research Papers in Economics 2010:7, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  32. Chang-Tai Hsieh, 2002. "What Explains the Industrial Revolution in East Asia? Evidence From the Factor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 502-526, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mod:recent:065. 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: ()

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.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.