() and Stephen Parente
Anna Larsson: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University, Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Stephen Parente: University of Illinois, Postal: Department of Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1407 W. Gregory Dr., Urbana, IL, 61801, USA.
Abstract: A large literature documents that autocratic regimes have not, on average, outperformed democratic regimes, although they do display greater variance in economic performance. At the same time, no long-lived autocracy currently is rich whereas every long-lived democracy is. This paper puts forth a theory to account for these observations. The theory rests on the idea that autocratic leaders are heterogenous in their preferences and the idea that special interest groups can successfully lobby a democratic regime for policies that delay industrialization. We show that an elite landed class chooses to democratize society only after the economy has accumulated enough wealth.
44 pages, May 27, 2010
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