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Endogenous Democratization

By Carles Boix and Susan C. Stokes. Reading for week of February 1, 2005.

We show that economic development increases the probability that a country will undergo a transition to democracy.  Ours contradicts Przeworski and his associates' finding, 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, we reveal that economic growth causes non-democracies to democratize.  We show that the effect of economic development on the probability of a transition to democracy in the hundred years between the mid-19th century and World War II was substantial, and stronger than its effect on democratic stability.  We also show that, in more recent decades, some countries that developed but remained dictatorships would after achieving a per capita income of $12,000 per capita, be expected to democratize, because of their development, in as few as three years.

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