Para fortalecer la democracia hay que fortalecer la democracia

Para fortalecer la democracia hay que fortalecer la democracia–y no el autoritarismo. Parece una tautología trivial pero no lo es tanto. Przeworski et al. explican por qué.

Adam Przeworski, Michael Alvarez, José Antonio Cheibub & Fernando Limongi “What Makes Democracies Endure?“, Journal of Democracy 7.1 (1996) 39-55.

“If a country, any randomly selected country, is to have a democratic regime next year, what conditions should be present in that country and around the world this year? The answer is: democracy, affluence, growth with moderate inflation, declining inequality, a favorable international climate, and parliamentary institutions.

This answer is based on counting instances of survival and death of political regimes in 135 countries observed annually between 1950 and 1990 (…) for a total of 4,318 country-years.

Our definition of democracy is a minimalist one. We follow Robert A. Dahl’s 1971 classic Polyarchy in treating as democratic all regimes that hold elections in which the opposition has some chance of winning and taking office.

It may seem tautological to say that a country should have a democratic regime this year in order to have a democracy next year. We do so in order to dispel the myth, prevalent in certain intellectual and political circles (particularly in the United States) since the late 1950s, that the route to democracy is a circuitous one. The claim is that 1) dictatorships are better at generating economic development in poor countries, and that 2) once countries have developed, their dictatorial regimes will give way to democracy. To get to democracy, then, one had to support, or at least tolerate, dictatorships.

Both of the above propositions, however, are false:

1) While analyses of the impact of regimes on economic growth have generated divergent results, recent econometric evidence fails to uncover any clear regime effect. The average rate of investment is in fact slightly higher in poor democracies than in poor dictatorships; population growth is higher under dictatorships but labor productivity is lower; and investment is more efficiently allocated under democracies. Dictatorships are no more likely to generate economic growth than democracies.

2) Democracies are not produced by the development of dictatorships. If they were, the rate at which dictatorships make the transition to democracy would increase with the level of development: analyses of the survival prospects of dictatorships, however, indicate that this is not the case. Indeed, transitions to democracy are random with regard to the level of development: not a single transition to democracy can be predicted by the level of development alone.

Since poor dictatorships are no more likely to develop than poor democracies and since developed dictatorships are no more likely to become democracies than poor ones, dictatorships offer no advantage in attaining the dual goal of development and democracy. In order to strengthen democracy, we should strengthen democracy, not support dictatorships.”