The Democratic Transition

36 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2011

See all articles by Fabrice Murtin

Fabrice Murtin

Stanford University; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Romain T. Wacziarg

UCLA Anderson School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2011


Over the last two centuries, many countries experienced regime transitions toward democracy. We document this democratic transition over a long time horizon. We use historical time series of income, education and democracy levels from 1870 to 2000 to explore the economic factors associated with rising levels of democracy. We find that primary schooling, and to a weaker extent per capita income levels, are strong determinants of the quality of political institutions. We find little evidence of causality running the other way, from democracy to income or education.

Keywords: democracy, GMM, human capital, modernization

JEL Classification: I25, N30, N40, O43

Suggested Citation

Murtin, Fabrice and Wacziarg, Romain T., The Democratic Transition (October 2011). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8599. Available at SSRN:

Fabrice Murtin (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Romain T. Wacziarg

UCLA Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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