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Abstract

We investigate the relationship between exposure to "authoritarian" or "autocratic" institutions for prolonged periods of time and long-term economic development. Specifically, we examine how the length of time a country's regime was authoritarian between 1920 and 2000 is correlated with economic growth and per capita income. We find a moderate though negative effect, even after controlling for other factors. In contrast, we also find that the length of time a country is not subject to authoritarian regimes is positively related to economic growth and the level of per capital income. We claim this evidence is consistent with the thesis that one of the reasons why countries have had difficulty adjusting to life after autocracy is that the human and social capital necessary to make markets "work" eroded under autocratic regimes and takes time to develop afterward.

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For some countries, 1990 GDP was missing. In these cases the earliest available real GDP per capita was used as a proxy for 1990 GDP, as follows: 1991 GDP for Bulgaria, Lebanon; 1992 GDP for Eritrea
Real GDP per capita, constant prices, chain series, in 1990 and 2000. For some countries, 1990 GDP was missing. In these cases the earliest available real GDP per capita was used as a proxy for 1990 GDP, as follows: 1991 GDP for Bulgaria, Lebanon; 1992 GDP for Eritrea, Georgia, Moldova; 1993 GDP for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine; 1994 GDP for Azerbaijan; and 1995 GDP for Armenia. Exceptions are Angola, Guyana and Libya, in which only 2000 GDP is available; these three countries were dropped from models in which 1990 GDP is used as a control variable Penn World Tables, mark 6.2, variable name rgdpch
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