Democracy is Not Required for Economic Growth

“Over the past three decades, debate around the trade-off between democracy and development has acquired more visibility in academic circles—more so, in light of the spectacular economic growth rates that the authoritarian regimes in East Asia witnessed since the 1970s. Indeed, the impressive success of development on aggregate scale in undemocratic countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and recently the Chinese leviathan has woven into a narrative suggesting that autocracies—if led by visionary autocrats—can often be more growth-inducing then democracies. The recent scholarship by development economists has made a point that rapid economic growth need not necessarily presuppose democratic institutions. As a matter of fact, visionary technocrats in authoritarian regimes can uphold growth and dynamism at a pace higher than those of their counterparts in democratic sates. The recent success of South Korea, Taiwan, and particularly China in launching an industrial transformation, which resulted in a titanic increase in the rates of manufacturing output, productivity, savings as well as a tremendous rise in standards of living—in a strikingly short span of time—is so impressive that it becomes plausible to suggest that development, given specific background conditions, may be better accomplished under autocracies than democracies.”

The article concludes by claiming “autocracies” are a gamble: some experience growth, others not. But the same could be said for democracies, as the scatterplot shows. There does not seem to be a strong correlation between the economic growth and whether a country is categorized as “democratic” or “autocratic.”

 

"Over the past three decades, debate around the trade-off between democracy and development has acquired more visibility…

Posted by Daniel Haqiqatjou on Thursday, April 20, 2017

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