Exploring The Variation of Economic Performance Within Developing Democracies: an Institutional Analysis of East and South-East Asia
Thesis DisciplinePolitical Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis explores the impact of democratic institutions amongst the Asian developing countries. There has been debate about the successful economic rise of these seven countries; however, questions remain over the differing levels of economic performance. Institutional literature has paid scant attention to the role of democracy, and how this has influenced economic development throughout Asia. This thesis explores the relationships between four democratic institutions - cabinets, party-systems, electoral systems and bicameralism - and economic performance across six developing democracies, in addition to Japan. Using current democratic institutional literature derived from OECD countries, this thesis expands the scope to include new countries. The analysis employs both statistical methods and case studies to assess the relationships between four democratic institutions and seven socio-economic indicators between 1986 and 2005. The linear regressions provided evidence that coalition cabinets are correlated with lower levels of inflation and unemployment, but large multi-party legislatures are not. This thesis also found correlations between strong second legislative chambers and higher FDI, lower tariffs and higher income inequality. Although this is an exploratory thesis, I suggest that democratic institutional analysis within Asia does warrant further examination; an assessment of the specific institutions may provide us with clearer notions regarding economic development.