Democracy, governance and economic growth: Theory and evidence

Rivera-Batiz, Francisco

This paper examines how democracy affects long-run growth by influencing the quality of governance. Empirical evidence is presented first showing that measures of the quality of governance are substantially higher in more democratic countries. A general equilibrium, endogenous growth model is then built to show how a governance improving democracy raises growth. In this model, stronger democratic institutions influence governance by constraining the actions of corrupt officials. Reducing corruption, in turn, stimulates technological change and spurs economic growth. Empirical evidence is presented showing that democracy is in fact a significant determinant of total factor productivity (TFP) growth between 1960 and 1990 in a cross-section of countries. But this contribution occurs only insofar as stronger democratic institutions are associated with greater quality of governance.



More About This Work

Academic Units
Department of Economics, Columbia University
Department of Economics Discussion Papers, 0102-57
Published Here
March 22, 2011


April 2002