Summary of Does Democracy Stifle Economic Growth?

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Does Democracy Stifle Economic Growth? summary
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Political scientist Yasheng Huang states his case for the role of democracy in economic growth. He explores the performance of both China and India in recent decades and refutes the notion that China’s one-party political structure is responsible for its success. Filled with engaging comparisons, Huang’s lecture offers an accessible, provocative alternative to the usual commentary on China’s miraculous growth. getAbstract recommends Huang’s arguments to scholars of economic history and to economy watchers who seek patterns in nations’ development.

About the Speaker

Political scientist Yasheng Huang founded the China and India Labs at MIT’s Sloan School of Business.



“Is democracy bad for economic growth?” To address this question, many scholars point to economic trends in India, a democracy, and in China, an authoritarian state. Since the late 1970s, China has outperformed India. Some credit China’s success to the “Shanghai model of economic growth,” which emphasizes “infrastructures, strong government” and “state ownership” and implies that democracy impedes growth. But that argument holds water only if infrastructures – ergo, a strong government – prove vital for economic growth. In 1989, the Soviet Union had ten times more telephones per capita than China, yet the Soviet Union...

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