On the determinants of democracy in the Arab World

Nouha Bougharriou
Walid Benayed
Foued Badr Gabsi
JEL codes: 
D72 - Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior, D73 - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption, E02 - Institutions and the Macroeconomy, P16 - Political Economy.
In this paper, we re-examine the "modernization theory" according to which economic development promotes democracy. Results for a panel of 17 Arab countries over the period 1990-2013, reveal that income per capita has a positive and statically significant effect on democracy. Our findings remain robust even after the inclusion of other potential determinants of democracy. Interestingly, we show that education, corruption and trade openness foster the emergence of democracy. However, it seems that urbanization, resource rents and the rise of democracy in neighboring countries impede democratic changes in the region.
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