Determinants of Democracy

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Determinants of Democracy

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Title: Determinants of Democracy
Author: Barro, Robert J.
Citation: Barro, Robert J. 1999. Determinants of democracy. Journal of Political Economy 107(S6): 158-183.
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Abstract: A panel study of over 100 countries from 1960 to 1995 finds that improvements in the standard of living predict increase in democracy, as measured by a subjective indicator of electoral rights. The propensity for democracy rises with per capita GDP, primary schooling, and a smaller gap between male and female primary attainment. For a given standard of living, democaracy tends to fall with urbnization and with a greater reliance on natrual resources. Democracy has little relation to country size but rises with the middle‐class share of income. The apparently strong relation of democracy to colonial heritage mostly disappears when the economic variables are held constant. Similarly, the allowance for these economic variables weakens the interplay between democracy and religious affiliation. However, negative effects from Muslim and non‐religious affiliations remain intact.
Published Version: doi:10.1086/250107
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at
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