Democracy, History, and Economic Performance: A Case-Study Approach

Document Type



Government (CMC)

Publication Date



Crossnational statistical studies show a positive relationship between the length of time a country has been democratic and its economic performance. Old democracies grow faster, ceteris paribus, and also demonstrate advantages in some economic policies thought to be conducive to growth. However, the causal connections between regime history and economic policy and performance remain opaque. Arguments are highly speculative, for the causal pathways are usually difficult to measure and are not readily testable in a large-N cross-country format. In order to illuminate possible interconnections between regime history and economic performance we identify three countries in the developing world whose recent history may be regarded as illustrative: Brazil, India, and Mauritius. Our analysis of these cases focuses on the achievement of policy consensus and policy reform, both of which are commonly regarded as critical to economic performance. Intensive study of our chosen cases suggests multiple mechanisms by which democratic experience might translate into greater success on these policy dimensions.

Rights Information

© 2011 Elsevier