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Paperback | $27.00 Short | £18.95 | ISBN: 9780262562119 | 416 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 22 illus.| January 2005

Democracy, Governance, and Economic Performance

Theory and Evidence


In this book, Yi Feng combines political and economic analyses to study the effects of political institutions on economic performance. Traditionally, political scientists disregard details of economic conditions, while economists may not take into consideration a systematic explanation of political regimes. The growing interest in the interplay of political and economic systems, spurred by the political democratization and economic liberalization evident in many countries over the last twenty years, merits this new perspective.

The book examines the political determinants of economic growth, and, specifically, the controversial question of the relationship between democracy and quality of life. Feng systematically studies three variables of a political system—political freedom, political stability, and policy certainty—and relates them to economic development. He examines the political factors that may affect patterns of growth directly or indirectly.

Combining theory and country-specific case studies, Democracy, Governance, and Economic Performance demonstrates that political institutions and conditions do matter in economic growth. After establishing a theoretical foundation, Feng tests it by examining the direct effects of the three key political variables on economic growth and the indirect effects of democracy in terms of other variables (political instability, inflation, investment, education, income distribution, property rights, and population growth). He concludes by considering the policy implications of these results.

About the Author

Yi Feng is the Luther Lee Chair in Government at Claremont Graduate University, where he also works as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.


"For some time we have known that economic growth helps promote democracy. Now, in this important book, Yi Feng shows us that democracy is good for economic growth, and, in the process, demonstrates why the spread of democratic market capitalism is good for the world."
—Robert Art, Christian A. Herter Professor of International Relations, Politics Department, Brandeis University, author of A Grand Strategy for America
"In Democracy, Governance, and Economic Performance, Yi Feng addresses the impact of institutions, the costs of instability, and the economic role of political freedom on economic growth. He traces the direct and indirect impact of politics on economic performance and seeks to measure both. In so doing, Feng tackles issues that lie at the frontier of the study of growth and the field of development. This work helps to consolidate recent work in these fields and marks a significant contribution to both."
—Robert H. Bates, Department of Government, Harvard University
"In this impressive book, Professor Feng considers the problem of how a society's particular political arrangements affect the choices made by individuals and, hence, condition the society's economic growth and social development. The work is notable for its broad scope, its thorough grounding in empirical evidence, and for the insights it offers into complex social processes. This is interdisciplinary research at its best."
—Eirik G. Furubotn, Private Enterprise Research Center, Texas A&M University, and University of the Saarland, Germany