Making Democratic-Governance Work: The Consequences for Prosperity

32 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 15 Sep 2011

Pippa Norris

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); University of Sydney

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

Does democratic governance expand wealth and prosperity? There is no consensus about this issue despite the fact that for more than half a century, rival theories about the regime-growth relationship have been repeatedly tested against the empirical evidence, using a variety of cases, models and techniques. To consider the issues, Part I of this paper reviews and summarizes theories why regimes are expected to influence economic growth directly, either positively or negatively. After considering these debates, Part II discusses the technical challenges facing research on this topic and how it is proposed to overcome these. Part III presents the results of the comparative analysis for the effects of democratic governance on economic growth during recent decades. The descriptive results illustrate the main relationships. The multivariate models check whether these patterns remain significant after controlling for many other factors associated with growth, including geography, economic conditions, social structural variables, cultural legacies, and global trends. The evidence supports the equilibrium thesis suggesting that regimes combining both liberal democracy and bureaucratic governance are most likely to generate growth, while by contrast patronage autocracies display the worst economic performance. The conclusion considers the implications.

Keywords: Political regimes, democracy, governance, economic growth, development

JEL Classification: 010

Suggested Citation

Norris, Pippa, Making Democratic-Governance Work: The Consequences for Prosperity (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper; HKS Working Paper No. RWP11-035. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1903406 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1903406

Pippa Norris (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-1475 (Phone)
617-496-2850 (Fax)

University of Sydney ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney, NC NSW 2006
Australia

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