The Autocratic Legacy of Early Statehood

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper documents that precolonial state development was an impediment to the development of democracy outside Europe. This was so because comparatively developed states were harder to colonize and saw less European settlement. If they were colonized, in more developed states colonial rule was exercised via indigenous state infrastructure. This served to reinforce traditional authority structures. Less developed states, in contrast, were often colonized with institutional transplantation and an influx of settlers carying ideals of parliamentarism. Using both OLS and IV-estimation, we present statistical evidence that precolonial state development has been an impediment to democracy and document the proposed causal mechanism for a large sample of non-European countries. The conclusion is extremely robust to dierent samples, diferent democracy indices, to an array of exogenous controls, and to a number of alternative theories of the causes and correlates of democracy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)471-494
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and

No data available

ID: 33639439