Question: Does democracy necessarily evolve out of economic growth?
David Dollar: I like to look to history, and so as a fact we can say that every country that’s reached a certain level of per capita income has become democratic. And the only exceptions are the very oil-rich states. So Saudi Arabia has a very high per capita income without being democratic, but it’s only those countries sitting on huge reserves of oil that have achieved that. Countries that have become rich through a more diverse development of manufacturing and services, every one of them that’s reached a certain per capita income has become democratic. So as someone who was a historian before he was an economist, I find that pretty persuasive.
July 3, 2007