IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/13180.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Democracy, Technology, and Growth

Author

Listed:
  • 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
    Note: POL EFG
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13180.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Philippe Aghion & Robin Burgess & Stephen J. Redding & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2008. "The Unequal Effects of Liberalization: Evidence from Dismantling the License Raj in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1397-1412, September.
    2. Giavazzi, Francesco & Tabellini, Guido, 2005. "Economic and political liberalizations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1297-1330, October.
    3. Gibson, James L., 1997. "Mass Opposition to the Soviet Putsch of August 1991: Collective Action, Rational Choice, and Democratic Values in the Former Soviet Union," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 91(3), pages 671-684, September.
    4. Daron Acemoglu, 2008. "Oligarchic Versus Democratic Societies," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(1), pages 1-44, March.
    5. Helliwell, John F., 1994. "Empirical Linkages Between Democracy and Economic Growth," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(2), pages 225-248, April.
    6. Barro, Robert J, 1996. "Democracy and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, March.
    7. Adam Przeworski & Fernando Limongi, 1993. "Political Regimes and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 51-69, Summer.
    8. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2008. "Income and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 808-842, June.
    9. Dani Rodrik & Romain Wacziarg, 2005. "Do Democratic Transitions Produce Bad Economic Outcomes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 50-55, May.
    10. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-563, July.
    11. Philippe Aghion & Alberto Alesina & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Endogenous Political Institutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 565-611.
    12. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 271-303, September.
    13. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864.
    14. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 158-183, December.
    15. Lipset, Seymour Martin, 1959. "Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy1," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(1), pages 69-105, March.
    16. Karl-Dieter Opp, 1999. "Contending Conceptions of the Theory of Rational Action," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 11(2), pages 171-202, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2009. "Democratic Capital: The Nexus of Political and Economic Change," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 88-126, July.
    2. Elias Papaioannou & Gregorios Siourounis, 2008. "Democratisation and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(532), pages 1520-1551, October.
    3. Zuazu, Izaskun, 2019. "The growth effect of democracy and technology: An industry disaggregated approach," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 115-131.
    4. Daron Acemoglu & Suresh Naidu & Pascual Restrepo & James A. Robinson, 2019. "Democracy Does Cause Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 127(1), pages 47-100.
    5. Cervellati, Matteo & Fortunato, Piergiuseppe & Sunde, Uwe, 2011. "Democratization and Civil Liberties: The Role of Violence During the Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 8315, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Madsen, Jakob B. & Raschky, Paul A. & Skali, Ahmed, 2015. "Does democracy drive income in the world, 1500–2000?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 175-195.
    7. Fabrice Murtin & Romain Wacziarg, 2014. "The democratic transition," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 141-181, June.
    8. Freund, Caroline & Jaud, Mélise, 2013. "Regime Change, Democracy and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 9282, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Cervellati Matteo & Fortunato Piergiuseppe & Sunde Uwe, 2012. "Consensual and Conflictual Democratization," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-51, December.
    10. Thomas Apolte, 2011. "Democracy and prosperity in two decades of transition," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 19(4), pages 693-722, October.
    11. Colagrossi, Marco & Rossignoli, Domenico & Maggioni, Mario A., 2020. "Does democracy cause growth? A meta-analysis (of 2000 regressions)," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    12. Elias Papaioannou & Gregorios Siourounis, 2008. "Democratisation and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(532), pages 1520-1551, October.
    13. Brieger Stefan & Markwardt Gunther, 2020. "The Democracy–Economy-Nexus," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 71(2), pages 135-167, August.
    14. Andreas Assiotis, 2013. "Does Democratization Spur Growth? An Examination over Time and Space," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 04-2013, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    15. Alessandro Melcarne & Juan S. Mora-Sanguinetti & Rok Spruk, 2021. "Democracy, technocracy and economic growth: evidence from 20 century Spain," Working Papers 2118, Banco de España.
    16. Kangoye, Thierry, 2011. "Does Foreign Aid Promote Democracy?," WIDER Working Paper Series 064, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    17. Thierry Kangoye, 2011. "Does Foreign Aid Promote Democracy?," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2011-064, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    18. Papaioannou, Elias & Siourounis, Gregorios, 2008. "Economic and social factors driving the third wave of democratization," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 365-387, September.
    19. Grosjean, Pauline & Senik, Claudia, 2007. "Should Market Liberalization Precede Democracy? Causal Relations between Political Preferences and Development," IZA Discussion Papers 2889, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Flachaire, Emmanuel & García-Peñalosa, Cecilia & Konte, Maty, 2014. "Political versus economic institutions in the growth process," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 212-229.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:nbr:nberwo:13180. 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: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 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: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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.