Do Output Contractions Trigger Democratic Change?

Paul Burke, Andrew Leigh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Does faster economic growth increase pressure for democratic change, or reduce it? Using data for 154 countries for the period 1963-2007, we examine the short-run relationship between economic growth and moves toward and away from greater democracy. To address the potential endogeneity of economic growth, we use variation in precipitation, temperatures, and commodity prices as instruments for a country's rate of economic growth. Our results indicate that more rapid economic growth reduces the short-run likelihood of institutional change toward democracy. Output contractions due to adverse weather shocks appear to have a particularly important impact on the timing of democratic change. (JEL D72, E23, E32, O11, O17, O47)
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)124-157
    JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Macroeconomics
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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