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Are democratic governments more efficient?

Adam, Antonis and Delis, Manthos D and Kammas, Pantelis (2009): Are democratic governments more efficient?

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Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between public sector efficiency (PSE) and the level of democracy, both theoretically and empirically. At the theoretical level a simple model of elections with two time periods is presented, which takes into account whether the political regime is democratic or not. Specifically, we assume that elected officials in democracies are “more” accountable to voters than the respective ones in autocracies. This mechanism induces the democratic politicians to produce the public good in a more efficient way, in order to remain in power. In the empirical section we examine the effect of democracy on PSE for a panel dataset of 50 developing and developed countries over the period 1980-2000. Our results suggest that the relationship between PSE and democracy is positive and statistically significant, thus confirming our theoretical priors.

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