Political Participation and Development : Operationalizing and testing the correlation between inclusive political institutions and economic development.

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to clarify the correlation between economic development and inclusive political institutions. Research in the field of development economics highlights the importance of durable institutions for sustained economic growth. Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson propose that we should consider inclusive political institutions are key drivers of economic development, but political inclusion is challenging to measure quantitatively. We investigate novel ways ways to operationalize political inclusion and economic development by using voter turnout as the independent variable while median income acts as the dependent variable to better reflects the living standards of the broad population. Our thesis is that increased voter participation as a percentage of voting age population should correlate to a higher median income. Our bivariate regression shows a clear relationship but low explanatory power since linear regression doesn’t explain significant variations in the data. Multivariate linear regression results show a weaker correlation than expected but explains our data better by highlighting a clear tendency for high income democracies to enjoy high voter turnout whereas low income countries have varied outcomes. A high degree of data variability raises doubts about the validity of comparing voting participation between different political systems.

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