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TIME UNDER AUTOCRATIC RULE AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

Authors

  • ART CARDEN,

    1. Carden: Rhodes College, 2000 North Parkway, Memphis, TN 38112. Phone 901-843-3829, Fax 901-843-3736, E-mail Cardena@rhodes.edu
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  • HARVEY S. JAMES JR.

    1. James: University of Missouri, 146 Mumford Hall, Columbia, MO 65211. Phone 573-884-9682, Fax 573-882-3958, E-mail HJames@missouri.edu
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    • Lant Pritchett, Farhad Rassekh, Tara M. Sinclair, Peter Sturm, Ronald Wintrobe, and two anonymous referees provided useful comments. We are grateful to participants at the 2007 Public Choice Society World meetings and the 2007 Association of Private Enterprise Education meetings for useful discussion. Presentation of this work at the APEE meetings was supported by a grant from The Association of Private Enterprise Education in conjunction with the Goodrich Foundation, The Koch Foundation, The Templeton Foundation, and University Francisco Marroquin. The excellent research assistance of Matt Elliott and Andrea Woolverton is gratefully acknowledged. Julie Doub, Linda Gibson, and Rachel Smith proofread the final manuscript. The final manuscript was finished while Carden was a Visiting Research Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research.


Abstract

We investigate how the length of time a country's regime was autocratic between 1920 and 2000 is correlated with economic growth and per capita income. We find that the longer a country was within an autocracy, the lower is the country's economic performance, even after controlling for other factors. We also find the length of time a country is not autocratic is positively related to growth and income. We claim this evidence is consistent with the thesis that one reason why some countries have had difficulty adjusting to life after autocracy is that the human and social capital necessary to make markets “work” eroded under autocratic regimes and take time to develop afterward. (JEL O17, O43, P0)

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