Crop Yield and Democracy

James B. Ang, Per G. Fredriksson and Satyendra Kumar Gupta


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. (JEL O11, O13)

This article requires a subscription to view the full text. If you have a subscription you may use the login form below to view the article. Access to this article can also be purchased.

Purchase access

You may purchase access to this article. This will require you to create an account if you don't already have one.