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The Politics of Economic Growth in the Industrial Democracies, 1974-80: Leftist Strength or North Sea Oil?

Robert W. Jackman
The Journal of Politics
Vol. 49, No. 1 (Feb., 1987), pp. 242-256
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2131143
Page Count: 15
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The Politics of Economic Growth in the Industrial Democracies, 1974-80: Leftist Strength or North Sea Oil?
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Abstract

A recent empirical analysis by Lange and Garrett of economic growth in the advanced industrial democracies concluded that the political and organizational power of the left has had a sustained impact on growth since 1974. This paper shows that such a conclusion is unwarranted. First, the Lange-Garrett estimates are not robust, and hinge critically on the presence of Norway in their analysis. Second, the evidence indicates that any association between leftist strength and growth in the 1974-80 period is spurious. Finally, the argument that leftist strength should influence growth is predicated on a series of dubious assumptions about the nature of electoral competition.

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