Seminar with Valeriya Mechkova (Gothenburg University)
The title of the presentation: "Does Political Inclusion and Civil Rights Protection Promote Economic Development"
This paper considers the relationship between open, inclusive political institutions and economic development. More specifically, it explores the economic growth outcomes of: 1) civil liberties protection and 2) political inclusion of women, social groups (defined by language, race, religion, or ethnicity), LGBT and economically disadvantaged groups. We review the theoretical arguments suggesting that protection of civil liberties, including property rights, should help groups to achieve their economic potential, through access to opportunities and resources, as well as through security of investment. We argue that political inclusion should be beneficial for economic growth by including a more diverse set of voices in political decision-making, and allowing for minority groups to defend their own policy priorities. We expect that this inclusive environment should stimulate the generation of various ideas and ensure the selection of the best one, which in turn should improve the quality of economic policies as well as their sustainability. These arguments are investigated empirically in a panel-data setup, drawing on indicators of civil liberties and political inclusion from the V-Dem project, covering 203 polities from 1900-2017. We present evidence that certain civil liberties, such as property rights protection, are positively linked to economic growth rates. We also find robust evidence that the extent to which political power is distributed by gender and sexual orientation is a significant predictor of economic development. This relationship is robust to different model specifications, and is due to neither stable country-characteristics (such as cultural or geographic aspects) nor global trends in both civil liberties and development.