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Free Content Imperfect democracy and economic freedom

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Recent research has explored the determinants of economic freedom, an important measure of institutional quality. Concurrently, some scholars have posited a negative relationship between the quality of economic institutions and democracy, specifically at very high levels of democracy. This paper disaggregates the Polity IV index into a vector of 20 dummy variables to explore how differing degrees of democracy and autocracy may impact economic freedom, thereby leaving open the possibility for levels of democracy modestly less than perfect democracy to have better effects on economic freedom. This paper will also consider the Vreeland re-estimate of the Polity IV index, the Grundler-Kreiger measure of democracy, the use of a quadratic term, and quantile regression. The weak evidence that is found points to a modest positive relationship between democracy and economic freedom, with little evidence that marginally less democracy will subsequently lead to more economic freedom.
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Keywords: DEMOCRACY; ECONOMIC FREEDOM OF THE WORLD; ECONOMIC INSTITUTIONS; POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS; POLITY IV

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2018

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  • The Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice (JPFPC) was founded in 1983 by Professor Domenico da Empoli in the spirit of the Italian discipline of Scienza delle finanze. According to this approach, economic analysis should include individual motivations in non-market settings, political institutions, and collective decision-making.

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