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date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

There is still an ongoing debate over the economic implications of democracy, and this has gained critical importance particularly in the African context, where a wave of democratization in the early 1990s coincided with the start of a new era of rapid economic growth. In this chapter, it is argued that the existing literature is inadequate in distinguishing the effects of regime transitions and democratic consolidation on economic growth. Through the analysis of the latest economic and political data, which include up to 43 countries in sub-Saharan Africa for the period of 1982–2012, strong evidence is found that democracy is positively associated with economic growth, and that this “democratic advantage” is more pronounced for those African countries that have remained democratic for longer periods of time. The findings call for more nuanced studies that carefully distinguish potentially divergent effects of regime transitions and democratic consolidation on economic growth.

Keywords: economic growth, democracy, democratization, african economies, political regimes

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