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Do Elections Matter for Economic Performance

  • Paul Collier
  • Anke Hoeffler
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    In mature democracies, elections discipline leaders to deliver good economic performance.� Since the fall of the Soviet Union most developing countries also hold elections, but these are often marred by illicit tactics.� Using a new global data set, this paper investigates whether these illicit tactics are merely blemishes or substantially undermine the economic efficacy of elections.� We show that illicit tactics are widespread, and that they reduce the incentive for governments to deliver good economic performance.� Revisiting the celebrated result that 'leaders matter', we show that it is dependent upon the absence of clean elections: changes of leader matter a lot in systems without clean elections, whereas in those with clean elections they are not significant.

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    File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/workingpapers/pdfs/2010-35text.pdf
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    Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number CSAE WPS/2010-35.

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    Date of creation: 01 Nov 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:csae-wps/2010-35
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    Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/Email:


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    1. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864, August.
    2. Andrew Leigh, 2009. "Does the World Economy Swing National Elections?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(2), pages 163-181, 04.
    3. Paul Collier & Lisa Chauvet, 2008. "Elections and Economic Policy in Developing Countries," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2008-34, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    4. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2007. "The Origins of State Capacity: Property Rights, Taxation, and Politics," NBER Working Papers 13028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Sidman, Andrew H. & Mak, Maxwell & Lebo, Matthew J., 2008. "Forecasting non-incumbent presidential elections: Lessons learned from the 2000 election," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 237-258.
    6. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125517 is not listed on IDEAS
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