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Jumps into Democracy: Integrating the Short and Long Run in the Democratic Transition

Martin Paldam and Erich Gundlach ()

Kyklos, 2018, vol. 71, issue 3, 456-481

Abstract: When countries become wealthy, they become democracies. Using kernel regressions, we show that the long‐run path in the Polity index looks exactly like a transition curve. However, the literature lacks a short‐run model that can generate this path. We note that the main political regime index is constant for most years. However, the stability is interrupted by infrequent jumps that are often quite large. We argue that periods of constancy represent political status quo equilibria that need to be broken by a triggering event. We find that such events occur randomly; they cannot be explained by economic variables. But if an event causes a change in the regime, the jump is normally in the direction of the transition curve. Hence, the curve acts as an attractor for the jumps. This is a new finding that integrates the short and the long run of the Democratic Transition.

Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:71:y:2018:i:3:p:456-481