(Successful) Democracies Breed Their Own Support

80 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2021 Last revised: 18 Nov 2021

See all articles by Daron Acemoglu

Daron Acemoglu

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Nicolas Ajzenman

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics

Cevat Giray Aksoy

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; King’s College London; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Martin Fiszbein

Boston University - Department of Economics

Carlos A. Molina

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

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Date Written: August 2021

Abstract

Using large-scale survey data covering more than 110 countries and exploiting within-country variation across cohorts and surveys, we show that individuals with longer exposure to democracy display stronger support for democratic institutions. We bolster these baseline findings using an instrumental-variables strategy exploiting regional democratization waves and focusing on immigrants’ exposure to democracy before migration. In all cases, the timing and nature of the effects are consistent with a causal interpretation. We also establish that democracies breed their own support only when they are successful: all of the effects we estimate work through exposure to democracies that are successful in providing economic growth, peace and political stability, and public goods.

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Suggested Citation

Acemoglu, Daron and Ajzenman, Nicolas and Aksoy, Cevat Giray and Fiszbein, Martin and Molina, Carlos A., (Successful) Democracies Breed Their Own Support (August 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3909598 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3909598

Daron Acemoglu (Contact Author)

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Nicolas Ajzenman

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Cevat Giray Aksoy

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Martin Fiszbein

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Carlos A. Molina

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