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Rule of Law, Democracy, Openness, and Income: Estimating the Interrelationships

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  • Roberto Rigobon
  • Dani Rodrik

Abstract

We estimate the interrelationships among economic institutions, political institutions, openness, and income levels, using identification through heteroskedasticity (IH). We split our cross-national dataset into two sub-samples: (i) colonies versus non-colonies; and (ii) continents aligned on an East-West versus those aligned on a North-South axis. We exploit the difference in the structural variances in these two sub-samples to gain identification. We find that democracy and the rule of law are both good for economic performance, but the latter has a much stronger impact on incomes. Openness (trade/GDP) has a negative impact on income levels and democracy, but a positive effect on rule of law. Higher income produces greater openness and better institutions, but these effects are not very strong. Rule of law and democracy tend to be mutually reinforcing.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto Rigobon & Dani Rodrik, 2004. "Rule of Law, Democracy, Openness, and Income: Estimating the Interrelationships," NBER Working Papers 10750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10750
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    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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