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date: 23 May 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the link between economic development and democracy. Drawing on modernization theory, it considers whether democracy is more likely to emerge in a country that modernizes economically. After discussing various criticisms against modernization theory, the article reviews statistical evidence to determine whether economic modernization gives rise to democracy. It argues that the correlation between economic development and democracy stems from the survival of democracy and that a poor authoritarian regime is not likely to turn into a democracy even if it receives economic assistance, either in the form of foreign aid or access to markets through trade. The article highlights the correlation between economic level and survival, rather than between economic growth and survival, noting that economic growth can be helpful only if it is sustained.

Keywords: economic development, democracy, modernization theory, economic assistance, foreign aid, trade, economic level, economic growth

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