NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Democratic Transition

Fabrice Murtin, Romain Wacziarg

NBER Working Paper No. 17432
Issued in September 2011
NBER Program(s):   POL

Over the last two centuries, many countries experienced regime transitions toward democracy. We document this democratic transition over a long time horizon. We use historical time series of income, education and democracy levels from 1870 to 2000 to explore the economic factors associated with rising levels of democracy. We find that primary schooling, and to a weaker extent per capita income levels, are strong determinants of the quality of political institutions. We find little evidence of causality running the other way, from democracy to income or education.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17432

Published: The Democratic Transition (with Fabrice Murtin), Journal of Economic Growth, 19(2), June 2014, pp. 141-181. Lead article.

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