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Development and Democratization

Carles Boix
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Carles Boix: Princeton University

Papers from Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy

Abstract: Current studies, mainly focused on the postwar period, are split on the impact of development on democracy. Examining panel data that runs from early nineteenth century (a time where hardly any democracy was in place) to the end of the twentieth century, I show income matters positively for democratization--both after controlling for country and time effects and instrumenting for income. Since the effect of time partly varies over time, with some historical periods that are more favorable to democracy than others, I investigate the domestic variables (a decreasing marginal effect of growth in already developed economies) and international factors (the strategies of great powers toward small countries) generating that result. I finally probe the underlying processes through which income shapes political institutions, showing that development produces key changes in the distribution and nature of wealth that, in turn, make democracy a stable political outcome.

Date: 2009-09
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