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Endogenous Democratization


The authors show that economic development increases the probability that a country will undergo a transition to democracy. These results contradict the finding of Przeworski and his associates, that development causes democracy to last but not to come into existence in the first place. By dealing adequately with problems of sample selection and model specification, the authors discover that economic growth does cause nondemocracies to democratize. They show that the effect of economic development on the probability of a transition to democracy in the hundred years between the mid-nineteenth century and World War II was substantial, indeed, even stronger than its effect on democratic stability. They also show that, in more recent decades, some countries that developed but remained dictatorships would, because of their development, be expected to democratize in as few as three years after achieving a per capita income of $12,000 per capita.

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Karl de Schweinitz Jr., “Industrialization, Labor Controls and Democracy,” Economic Development and Cultural Change 7 (July 1959)

Adam Przeworski and Fernando Limongi , “Political Regimes and Economic Growth,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 7 (Summer 1993)

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World Politics
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