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2009-05-03 14:52:45|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Determinants of Democracy



An expansion of political freedom——more democracy——has opposing effects oneconomic growth. On the positive side, democratic institutions provide a checkon governmental power and thereby limit the potential of public officials toamass personal wealth and to carry out unpopular policies. But on the negativeside, more democracy encourages rich-to-poor redistributions of income and mayenhance the power of interest groups. Consequently, the net effect of democracyon growth is uncertain. (See Sirowy and Inkeles [1990] and Przeworski andLimongi [1993] for surveys of theories that relate democracy to economicgrowth.)




My previous cross-country empirical work, assummarized in Barro (1997), finds a nonlinear effect of democracy on growth.Growth is initially increasing in an index of electoral rights, but therelation turnsnegative once a moderate amount of rights has been attained. One way tointerpret these results is that, in the worst dictatorships, an increase indemocracy tends to stimulate growth because the benefit from limitations ongovernmental power is the key matter. But in places that have already achieveda moderate amount of democracy, a further increase impairs growth because thedominant effect comes from the intensified concern with social programs thatredistribute resources.




The present analysis focuses on the reverse channel,that is, the impact of economic development on a country's propensity toexperience democracy. A common view since Lipset's (1959) research is thatprosperity stimulates democracy; this idea is often called the Lipsethypothesis. Lipset credits the idea to Aristotle: "From Aristotle down tothe present, men have argued that only in a wealthy society in which relativelyfew citizens lived in real poverty could a situation exist in which the mass ofthe population could intelligently participate in politics and could developthe self-restraint necessary to avoid succumbing to the appeals ofirresponsible demagogues" (p. 75). (For a statement of Aristotle's views,see Aristotle [1932, book 6].)


现在的这个分析,侧重于研究“反作用”部分,即:经济增长对国家的民主倾向的影响。自Lipset(1959)的研究以来,一个共识就是:繁荣会刺激民主;这个共识被称作“李浦塞假说”(Lipset Hypothesis)。 Lipset将之归功于亚里士多德,他说:“自亚里士多德以降,直至而今,人们一直以为,惟有富裕社会,惟有处于真实贫困状态之市民数量相对较少,大多数人方可有智慧参与政治,方可约束自我以避免受到不负责任之煽动的盅惑。人们视此为必要条件。”(关于亚里士多德的说法,见亚里士多德[1932,第六卷]。)


Theoretical models of the effect of economic conditionson the extent of democracy are not well developed. Lipset (1959, pp. 83- 84)emphasized increased education and an enlarged middle class as key elements,and he also stressed Tocqueville's (1835) idea that private organizations andinstitutions are important as checks on centralized government power. Thispoint has been extended by Putnam (1993), who argues that the propensity forcivic activity is the key underpinning of good government in the regions of Italy. ForHuber, Rueschemeyer, and Stephens (1993, pp. 74-75), the crucial concept isthat capitalist development lowers the power of the landlord class and raisesthe power and ability to organize of the working and middle classes.

经济条件对民主程度的影响,并没有很好的理论模型。Lipset(1959, pp.83-84)强调指出:增加教育和扩张中产阶级,为关键要素;而且,他还强调了法国政治学家托克维尔(1835)的观点:私人组织和体制的重要性,即体现为衡约集权政府之权力。Putnam(1993)将此观点进行了引申,他认为:公民行动的倾向,是意大利地区出现好政府的关键性决定因素。HuberRueschemeyerStephens(1993 pp. 74-75),提出的关键观念是:资本主义的发展,削弱了地主阶级的权力,提高了工人阶级和中产阶级的组织能力。


In some models, an autocrat would voluntarilyrelinquish some authority-for example, by establishing a constitution,empowering a legislature, expanding voting rights, and extending civilliberties- in order to deter revolution and to encourage the private sector toinvest (and, thereby, to expand the pie that the government can tax). Boone(1996) develops a model along these lines and determines the equilibrium amountof freedom by considering the net benefits of oppression to potential rulers.However, in this type of setting, most effects turn out to be ambiguous. Forexample, an increase in human capital raises the people's ability to resistoppression but also raises the ruler's benefits from subjugating them.Similarly, a rise in urbanization makes it easier for people to meet andcommunicate-which presumably makes them harder to suppress-but also makes iteasier for an autocrat to monitor and control activities.



Despite the lack of clear predictions fromtheoretical models, the cross-country evidence examined in the present studyconfirms that the Lipset/Aristotle hypothesis is a strong empirical regularity.In particular, increases in various measures of the standard of living forecasta gradual rise in democracy. In contrast, democracies that arise without prioreconomic development-sometimes because they are imposed by former colonialpowers or international organizations-tend not to last. Given the strength ofthis empirical regularity, one would think that clear-cut theoretical analysesought also to be attainable. (This seems to be a case in which the analysisworks better in practice than in theory.)






The democracy and inflation chapters have anotherflaw in common. Neither devotes adequate attention to placing Barro's findingsin the context of related literature, such as Fischer's (1993) work oninflation and growth or the work of Helliwell (1994) or Burkhart and Lewis-Beck (1994) on democracy, income, and growth.




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