Presentation on theme: "The quality of democracy: its impact on economic, political and social performance KRISTOBAL MIGUEL MELÉNDEZ AGUILAR."— Presentation transcript:
The quality of democracy: its impact on economic, political and social performance KRISTOBAL MIGUEL MELÉNDEZ AGUILAR
Introduction In 1959, by calculating averages of some welfare variables, Lipset showed that, in all cases, democracies had a better performance than those countries that decided not to be democratic. Dahl (1989) notes that democracy has significant advantages over other regimes: Avoids tyranny of representatives; grants rights and essential freedoms; improves human development, political equality, and prosperity, such as basic needs of a society like food, health, education and housing. All these advantages make this type of regime attractive, it is not surprising that an important number of countries have searched the way to become a democracy. According to Dahl, the five main criteria for having a democratic society are: effective participation, voting equality at the decisive stage, enlightening understanding, control of the agenda and inclusiveness. All these elements are related to election, including the control of the agenda that is based on giving all citizens the ability to choose the public policies that are convenient for them, without taking in consideration if these are or not of quality.
Democratization in the world Source: Compiled by author based on Polity IV
Democratization in the world Source: Compiled by author based on Polity IV
Economic performance Democracy vs. other types of regime Through using the method and variables of Lipset for 1990, 2000 and 2010. For all the periods and variables that were analyzed, it was observed that, on average, democracies have a better performance than those countries that are not democratic. However, with a deeper analysis, it was found: 1) On average, non democratic countries are growing at a greater rate than those countries that are democratic. This implies that the gap between both types of regime is decreasing over time. 2) The averages hide a lot of information. So, a more precise method to analyze the causal relation between democracy and economic performance is needed. 3) Those democratic countries that stopped being a democracy, had a better progress than those that remained as democratic. Przeworski (2002) found that if a country becomes a democracy and has an income of over 4 thousand dollars per capita, then it remains as democratic. It is interesting, as a research question, to investigate if democracy has a positive impact on the performance of countries or not. In order to test the hypothesis of Lipset that democracies have a better performance than those countries that are not democratic.
Democracies have different performances Democracy has many variants among which we can find classical democracy, protective republicanism, protective democracy, developmental democracy, developmental republicanism, direct democracy, pluralism, constitutional democracy, contemporary elitism, inclusive democracy, cosmopolitan democracy, illiberal democracy, participatory democracy, delegative democracy, radical democracy, among many other types of democracy. The quality of democracy is a new concept that tries to explain the reason why democratic countries have different levels of performance.
Measuring the quality of democracy It is not easy to measure the quality of democracy. O´Donnell (2004) considers that the citizens behavior and the social context are essential elements to determine democratic quality levels. Diamond and Morlino (2009) developed a more precise definition of democratic quality. This is composed by two components: democracy and quality. Both authors related the concept of quality with three main ideas: procedure, content and results. Given that there are different types of definitions for democracy and because of the fact that the countries that choose this type of regime have different performances, there are two theoretical debates trying to give us an answer to this dilemma. The first debate is based on whether the concept of democracy must include exclusively procedural elements or if it should also include the content and results of this type of regime. The second debate is based on whether the results must be measured exclusively with political performance or if they must include also economic and social performance. There are two ways in which the quality of democracy can be measured: quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitative variables : Rule of law, accountability through voting, accountability through the institutions, participation, competition, economic freedom, employment, inequality, poverty, human development, public policy performance, political stability and gender equality. Qualitative variables : Importance of democracy, democratic quality perception and life satisfaction.
First statistical analysis Method: Simple linear regression. Dependent variables: 13 essential democratic elements (quantitative variables). In order to compare coefficients, these variables are standardized in a scale from 0 to 10. Independent variable: years of democracy. Findings: 1) Through comparison with political and social performance, the number of years of democracy has a small coefficient in the variables of economic performance as poverty, economic freedom, inequality and employment. This means that economic results will last at least double the time for being observed by people. 2) The number of years of democracy does not have an impact on electoral participation levels and inequality.
Second statistical analysis Method: Simple linear regression without constant. Dependent variables: 8 variables of economic and social performance. Independent variable: index of procedural elements. In order to compare coefficients, these variables are standardized in a scale from 0 to 10. Findings: 1) The index of procedural elements has a very good impact on economic and social performance. The fact that coefficients are higher to 1 implies that these procedural elements produce increasing profit to scale in several variables of economic and political performance. 2) However, in all cases, the progress rate is higher in non democratic countries. This implies that the gap between both types of regime is narrowing.
Third statistical analysis Method: Instrumental-variables regression without constant. Dependent variables: 8 variables of economic and social performance. Independent variable: index of procedural elements. Instrumental variables: electoral participation levels and indexes of membership and political action. In order to compare coefficients, these variables are standardized in a scale from 0 to 10. Findings: 1) The different levels of participation of citizens make procedural elements more effective. 2) In non democratic countries the effect is much greater. In those countries, political action has a greater indirect impact on the economic results and human development.
Fourth statistical analysis Methods: Simple linear regression and instrumental-variables regression. Dependent variables: Importance of democracy, democratic quality perception and life satisfaction (qualitative variables). Independent variables: index of procedural elements and years of democracy. Instrumental variable: electoral participation levels. In order to compare coefficients, these variables, except years of democracy, are standardized in a scale from 0 to 10. Findings: 1) Directly or indirectly (by electoral participation levels), the procedural elements have a substantial influence in the importance of democracy, democratic quality perception and life satisfaction. 2) The number of years of democracy has causal relation with the importance of democracy. However, 90 years of democracy are required in order that the importance of democracy can increase one point in a scale from 1 to 10. Perhaps, because of the fact that citizens have to wait a lot of time to perceive the changes, some democratic countries have decided to change their type of regime.
Conclusions Lipset showed that, in all cases, democracies had a better performance than those countries that decided not to be democratic. On a deeper analysis, it was found that non democratic countries are growing at a greater rate than those countries that are democratic. This implies that the gap between both types of regime is decreasing over time. By applying simple linear regressions and instrumental-variables regressions, and analyzing the coefficients of standardized variables, it was found that procedural elements of a democracy produce a better economic and social performance. It would seem logical that the number of years of democracy and the different types of participation should have a great impact on economic and social performance. However, by applying instrumental-variables regressions, it was found that such effect exists in an indirect way. Free and fair elections are not enough, all countries should develop a context with a better Rule of law, accountability through voting and accountability through the institutions. It is important to mention that citizens' perceptions about the quality of democracy vary to a very slow pace unless there is a great change on the procedural elements. Therefore, the quality of democracy is important for a better political, economic and social performance.
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