Democracy-Growth Dynamics for Richer and Poorer Countries

24 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2015

See all articles by Heinrich H. Nax

Heinrich H. Nax

ETH Zürich; University of Zurich

Anke B Schorr

SIX Securities Services

Date Written: December 2, 2015


We study the empirical relationship between democracy and growth using grid-based panel regression and regime-transition frameworks. Our set-up nests several existing approaches, such as Barro (1996) and Gerring et al. (2005), and reconciles their conflicting messages in a more general model, and we identify the best-fitting discounts and memories. Our main finding is that democracy -- best-modelled as a stock variable -- does cause growth, especially beyond the immediate short-run, by enabling the accumulation of physical, human, social and political capitals. Beyond threshold levels of democratic and economic development, however, there are incentives for de-democratization in order to boost short-run growth at the cost of higher sustained long-run growth.

Keywords: Democracy, Growth, Political Economy

JEL Classification: O00, O40, P16, P26

Suggested Citation

Nax, Heinrich H. and Schorr, Anke B, Democracy-Growth Dynamics for Richer and Poorer Countries (December 2, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Heinrich H. Nax (Contact Author)

ETH Zürich ( email )

Rämistrasse 101
Zürich, 8092

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006

Anke B Schorr

SIX Securities Services ( email )

Brandschenkestrasse 47
Zuerich, 8021

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