Extreme Bounds of Democracy

KOF Working Paper No. 224

48 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2009

See all articles by Martin Gassebner

Martin Gassebner

ETH Zurich - KOF Swiss Economic Institute; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Michael J. Lamla

ETH Zurich - KOF Swiss Economic Institute; University of Essex

James Raymond Vreeland

Yale University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: April 1, 2009

Abstract

There are many stories of democracy but little consensus over which variables robustly determine its emergence and survival. We apply extreme bounds analysis to test the robustness of 59 factors proposed in the literature, evaluating over 3 million regressions. The most robust determinants of the transition to democracy are GDP growth (a negative effect), past transitions (a positive effect), and OECD membership (a positive effect). There is some evidence that fuel exporters and Muslim countries are less likely to see democracy emerge, although the latter finding is driven entirely by oil producing Muslim countries. Regarding the survival of democracy, the most robust determinants are GDP per capita (a positive effect) and past transitions (a negative effect). There is some evidence that having a former military leader as the chief executive has a negative effect, while having other democracies as neighbors has a reinforcing effect.

Keywords: democracy, extreme bounds analysis, regime transition

JEL Classification: C23, F59, O11, P16, P48

Suggested Citation

Gassebner, Martin and Lamla, Michael J. and Vreeland, James Raymond, Extreme Bounds of Democracy (April 1, 2009). KOF Working Paper No. 224. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1392266 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1392266

Martin Gassebner (Contact Author)

ETH Zurich - KOF Swiss Economic Institute ( email )

Weinbergstrasse 35
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.kof.ethz.ch/chair/

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Michael J. Lamla

ETH Zurich - KOF Swiss Economic Institute ( email )

Zurich
Switzerland

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

James Raymond Vreeland

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States
203-432 6196 (Phone)
203-432 6196 (Fax)

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