Democracy, State Capacity, and Economic Growth

Journal article

Knutsen, Carl Henrik (2013) Democracy, State Capacity, and Economic Growth, World Development 43: 1–18.

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This paper discusses how regime type and state capacity may interact in affecting economic growth. The empirical analysis finds a positive and robust effect of democracy on growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, a continent historically characterized by weak-capacity states. Furthermore, the paper identifies a robust interaction effect between democracy and state capacity on growth, both in Africa and globally; the effect of democracy on growth increases when state capacity is reduced. Democracy is estimated to have a positive effect on growth in weak-capacity states, but not in high-capacity states. Additionally, the results indicate that state capacity enhances growth only in dictatorships.

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