Discussion paper

DP8599 The Democratic Transition

Over the last two centuries, many countries experienced regime transitions toward democracy. We document this democratic transition over a long time horizon. We use historical time series of income, education and democracy levels from 1870 to 2000 to explore the economic factors associated with rising levels of democracy. We find that primary schooling, and to a weaker extent per capita income levels, are strong determinants of the quality of political institutions. We find little evidence of causality running the other way, from democracy to income or education.


Wacziarg, R and F Murtin (2011), ‘DP8599 The Democratic Transition‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 8599. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp8599