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Does democracy improve human development? Evidence from former socialist countries

Giorgio Liotti (), Marco Musella () and Federica D’isanto ()
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Marco Musella: University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
Federica D’isanto: University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy

Eastern Journal of European Studies, 2018, vol. 9(2), 69-88

Abstract: Between the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s, the changes in the political regimes in the Eastern European countries have enabled millions of people to have access to new political, economic and civil liberties. According to several economists, political and social sciences, the transition from a dictatorship to a democratic political regime has positive effects on Human Development (HD). However, recent studies do not provide strong empirical evidence in favour of this hypothesis. Therefore, the debate about the relationship between democracy and HD is still open. Considering the case of former Socialist countries, the aim of this paper is to empirically analyse whether and to what extent democracy affected the level of HD in these countries during the transition period. Using data on Polity IV and Human development index for 18 former Socialist countries from 1990 to 2014, we find evidence of a positive relationship between democracy and HD. Also, the results were robust when we checked for a set of control variables as growth rate, the degree of trade openness and log population.

Keywords: democracy; human development; Eastern European Countries; panel data (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:jes:journl:y:2018:v:9:p:69-88