The Agricultural Roots of Autocracy and Democracy

42 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2018

See all articles by James Ang

James Ang

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - Division of Economics

Per G. Fredriksson

University of Louisville - College of Business - Department of Economics; Institute for Corruption Studies

Satyendra Kumar Gupta

Jindal School of Goverment and Public Policy, JIndal Global University

Date Written: May 29, 2018

Abstract

This paper hypothesizes that inherent agricultural land productivity explains contemporary levels of autocracy and democracy. In particular, intermediate levels of productivity are associated with democracy, whereas a legacy of either low or high agricultural productivity is associated with autocracy. Our cross-country empirical results using data from up to 148 countries support this notion. The finding of an inverted U-shaped relationship holds up to a battery of robustness tests, and are supported by sub- national data from the US and India. Moreover, the persistence of the association is documented by utilizing data from pre-colonial societies.

Keywords: Democracy, autocracy, institutions, resource curse, agricultural productivity, crop yield, pre-colonial societies, inverted U, Unites States, India

JEL Classification: N40, N50, P16, Q10

Suggested Citation

Ang, James and Fredriksson, Per G. and Gupta, Satyendra Kumar, The Agricultural Roots of Autocracy and Democracy (May 29, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3187393 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3187393

James Ang

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - Division of Economics ( email )

HSS 04-53, 14 Nanyang Drive
Singapore, 639798
Singapore

Per G. Fredriksson

University of Louisville - College of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Louisville, KY 40292
United States

Institute for Corruption Studies

Stevenson Hall 425
Normal, IL 61790-4200
United States

Satyendra Kumar Gupta (Contact Author)

Jindal School of Goverment and Public Policy, JIndal Global University ( email )

Sonipat
Sonipat
Haryana, 124 001
India

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