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‘Free-market capitalism’ and democracy in the period of democratic recession : investigating the relationship in 141 countries, 2006–2017
Tibor Rutar, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: Since the mid-2000s, democratization has slowed, stopped, and even reversed across the world. At the same time, societies have become more oriented toward free markets as measured by indexes of economic freedom. Relying on a panel sample of 141 developed and developing countries between 2006 and 2017, this paper is the first to investigate whether the two phenomena are related by employing economic freedom data. It finds that there is no net-negative relationship between aggregate economic freedom and democracy in this time-period. Instead, mixed findings of both an overall positive and overall neutral (but not negative) association are uncovered in between-country and within-country analyses, respectively. In between-country analyses, using the disaggregated index shows that the legal system/property rights component drives most of the positive relationship between aggregate economic freedom and democracy in the developed world. The same between-country analyses in the developing world show that freedom of international trade is positively associated with democracy, while modest regulation has a negative relationship. However, additionally controlling for omitted variable bias using country-fixed effects, the paper does not find evidence for either a positive or negative relationship between subsequent changes in levels of economic freedom and democracy.
Keywords: democratic recession, democracy, economic freedom, neoliberalism, free-market capitalism
Published in DKUM: 13.03.2024; Views: 234; Downloads: 9
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