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Democracy, Technology, and Growth

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  • Philippe Aghion
  • Alberto Alesina
  • Francesco Trebbi

Abstract

We explore the question of how political institutions and particularly democracy affect economic growth. Although empirical evidence of a positive effect of democracy on economic performance in the aggregate is weak, we provide evidence that democracy influences productivity growth in different sectors differently and that this differential effect may be one of the reasons of the ambiguity of the aggregate results. We provide evidence that political rights are conducive to growth in more advanced sectors of an economy, while they do not matter or have a negative effect on growth in sectors far away from the technological frontier. One channel of explanation goes through the beneficial effects of democracy and political rights on the freedom of entry in markets. Overall, democracies tend to have much lower entry barriers than autocracies, because political accountability reduces the protection of vested interests, and entry in turn is known to be generally more growth-enhancing in sectors that are closer to the technological frontier. We present empirical evidence that supports this entry explanation.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Aghion & Alberto Alesina & Francesco Trebbi, 2007. "Democracy, Technology, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 13180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13180
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Daron Acemoglu & Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2010. "Political Selection and Persistence of Bad Governments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1511-1575.
    2. Akerman, Anders & Larsson, Anna & Naghavi, Alireza, 2011. "Autocracies and Development in a Global Economy: A Tale of Two Elites," Research Papers in Economics 2011:24, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    3. Madeeha Gohar Qureshi & Eatzaz Ahmed, 2012. "The Inter-linkages between Democracy and Per Capita GDP Growth: A Cross Country Analysis," PIDE-Working Papers 2012:85, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.
    4. Aghion, Philippe & Akcigit, Ufuk & Howitt, Peter, 2014. "What Do We Learn From Schumpeterian Growth Theory?," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 515-563, Elsevier.
    5. Andrey GNIDCHENKO, 2011. "Defragmentation Of Economic Growth With A Focus On Diversification Evidence From Russian Economy," Theoretical and Practical Research in the Economic Fields, ASERS Publishing, vol. 2(1), pages 44-80.
    6. Gnidchenko, Andrey, 2011. "Моделирование Технологических И Институциональных Эффектов В Макроэкономическом Прогнозировании [Technological and Institutional Effects Modeling in Macroeconomic Forecasting]," MPRA Paper 35484, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised May 2011.
    7. Sara Corujo & Marta Simões, 2012. "Democracy and Growth: Evidence for Portugal (1960–2001)," Transition Studies Review, Springer;Central Eastern European University Network (CEEUN), vol. 18(3), pages 512-528, March.
    8. Dmitry Veselov, 2013. "Redistribution and the political support of free entry policy in the Schumpeterian model with heterogenous agents," HSE Working papers WP BRP 28/EC/2013, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    9. Olper, Alessandro & Raimondi, Valentina, 2008. "Consitutional Rules and Agricultural Policy Outcomes," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 43870, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    10. Wen, Jun & Hao, Yu & Feng, Gen-Fu & Chang, Chun-Ping, 2016. "Does government ideology influence environmental performance? Evidence based on a new dataset," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 232-246.
    11. Daniel Sakyi & Samuel Adams, 2012. "Democracy, Government Spending and Economic Growth: The Case of Ghana, 1960–2008," Margin: The Journal of Applied Economic Research, National Council of Applied Economic Research, vol. 6(3), pages 361-383, August.
    12. Zheng, Mingbo & Feng, Gen-Fu & Feng, Suling & Yuan, Xuemei, 2019. "The road to innovation vs. the role of globalization: A dynamic quantile investigation," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 65-83.
    13. Stankov, Petar & Vasilev, Aleksandar, 2019. "Business reform outcomes: Why so different?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1109-1127.
    14. Joseph P. Hughes & Loretta J. Mester, 2008. "Efficiency in Banking: Theory, Practice, and Evidence," Departmental Working Papers 200801, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    15. Fedderke, Johannes & Klitgaard, Robert, 2013. "How Much Do Rights Matter?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 187-206.
    16. Hellmanzik, Christiane, 2013. "Democracy and economic outcomes: Evidence from the superstars of modern art," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 58-69.
    17. David Cuberes & Michał Jerzmanowski, 2009. "Democracy, Diversification and Growth Reversals," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(540), pages 1270-1302, October.
    18. Bozhechkova, Alexandra Viktorovna & Vashelyuk, Natalia. & Nazarov, P.A. & Perevyshin, Yuri & Tumanova, Elena Alexandrovna & Shagas, Natalia, 2015. "Modeling the Effects of Economic Policy and Changes in the Behavior of Economic Agents," Published Papers 2311, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    19. Seim, Anna Larsson & Parente, Stephen L., 2013. "Democracy as a middle ground: A unified theory of development and political regimes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 35-56.
    20. Che, Jiahua & Chung, Kim-Sau & Qiao, Xue, 2013. "The good, the bad, and the civil society," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 68-76.

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    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations

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