HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series
HKS Working Paper No. RWP11-035
Does democratic governance expand wealth and prosperity? There is no consensus about this issue despite the fact that for more than half a century, rival theories about the regime-growth relationship have been repeatedly tested against the empirical evidence, using a variety of cases, models and techniques. To consider the issues, Part I of this paper reviews and summarizes theories why regimes are expected to influence economic growth directly, either positively or negatively. After considering these debates, Part II discusses the technical challenges facing research on this topic and how it is proposed to overcome these. Part III presents the results of the comparative analysis for the effects of democratic governance on economic growth during recent decades. The descriptive results illustrate the main relationships. The multivariate models check whether these patterns remain significant after controlling for many other factors associated with growth, including geography, economic conditions, social structural variables, cultural legacies, and global trends. The evidence supports the equilibrium thesis suggesting that regimes combining both liberal democracy and bureaucratic governance are most likely to generate growth, while by contrast patronage autocracies display the worst economic performance. The conclusion considers the implications.
Norris, Pippa. "Making Democratic-Governance Work: The Consequences for Prosperity." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP11-035, September 2011.