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Comparative Democracy: the Economic Development Thesis
American Political Science Review
  • Ross E. Burkhart
  • Michael S. Lewis-Beck, University of Iowa
Document Type
Peer Reviewed
Publication Date
DOI of Published Version

In comparative politics, an established finding--that economic development fosters democratic performance--has recently come under challenge. We counter this challenge with a dynamic pooled time series analysis of a major, but neglected data set from 131 nations. The final generalized least squares-autoregressive moving averages estimates (N = 2,096) appear robust and indicate strong economic development effects, dependent in part on the nation's position in the world system. For the first time, rather hard evidence is offered on the causal relationship between economics and democracy. According to Granger tests, economic development "causes" democracy, but democracy does not "cause" economic development. Overall, the various tests would seem to advance sharply the modeling of democratic performance.

Journal Article Version
Version of Record
Published Article/Book Citation
American Political Science Review, 88:4 (1994) pp. 903-910.
Copyright © 1994 American Political Science Association. Used by permission.
Citation Information
Ross E. Burkhart and Michael S. Lewis-Beck. "Comparative Democracy: the Economic Development Thesis" American Political Science Review Vol. 88 Iss. 4 (1994) p. 903 - 910 ISSN: 0003-0554
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