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Democracy, Economic Development, and Income Inequality

Edward N. Muller
American Sociological Review
Vol. 53, No. 1 (Feb., 1988), pp. 50-68
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095732
Page Count: 19
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Democracy, Economic Development, and Income Inequality
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Abstract

Most cross-national tests of inverse association between democracy and inequality have operationalized the concept of democracy by measuring its level at a single point in time. More compelling theoretical arguments can be made for causal relationships that operate over time between (1) a country's years of democratic experience and income inequality; and (2) income inequality and the stability of democracy. Continuous and qualitative measures of years of democratic experience are estimated to have a significant negative impact on income inequality independent of economic development and other control variables for a sample of 55 countries. A very strong inverse correlation is also observed between income inequality and regime stability for a sample of 33 democracies. This association holds independent of economic development, which is found to have no direct effect on democratic stability after controlling for income inequality.

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