How does the historical legacy of agriculture affect democratic traditions in contemporary societies? This paper provides empirical evidence that inherent crop yield and democracy exhibit an inverted U-shaped relationship. This finding is supported by cross-country data from up to 147 countries, 186 pre-colonial societies, and the U.S. states. The relationship thus exhibits a highly persistent pattern. Crop yield is measured by kilocalories per hectare per year under rain-fed conditions, which has the advantage of being highly exogenous. The hump-shaped relationship holds up to a battery of robustness tests.
Original Publication Information
Ang, James B., Per G. Fredriksson and Satyendra Kumar Gupta. "Crop Yield and Democracy." 2020 Land Economics 96(2): 265-290.
Ang, James B.; Fredriksson, Per G.; and Gupta, Satyendra Kumar, "Crop Yield and Democracy" (2020). Faculty Scholarship. 519.