Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Education vs. Democracy

In the Journal's latestest debate I tend to side with Glaeser who argues that the connection between democracy and growth is supported by education. Acemoglu alternately suggests that democracy itself promotes growth. Though I know it’s a depressing thought I believe that democracy would tend to slow growth in societies that already have strong property rights.

Unlike pro-growth autocracies, think China, democracies have to temper growth with compassion for the poor. Rawlsian justice commands that the economy grows at the rate which benefits the least well-off the most – a rate almost always lower than that which benefits the average citizen the most.

For those who love median voter theory note that the median voter typically falls significantly below the average.

From the Journal via Mankiw