Development Policy & Liberal Democracy

I want to craft a thesis project that examines how development helps liberal democracy flourish and vice versa.

Public policy that yields urbanization, rising educational levels, rising life expectancy, and rapid economic growth can help liberal democracy flourish.

Empirical results show us that democracy and economic development affect each other in numerous ways [1].

There is a plethora of studies on the relationship between development and democratic growth — and the relevant literature illustrates to us that healthy and mature democratic systems enhance economic development.

The literature shows us that political systems are critically dependent upon a certain level of economic development. For instance, if a nation is at the lower stage of economic development — and if its general citizenry are poorly educated — the nation often moves towards dictatorship [2].

By contrast, as a nation accumulates more and more reproducible capital, it tends to move towards democracy.

I would like to explore these relationships further in my thesis project and invoke specific case studies in Africa, Asia and South America to use as examples.

As Indian Economist Amartya Sen presciently postulates — democracy and political rights can help prevent famines and natural disasters [3].

As a general rule, democracies tend to give people what they demand instead of the opposite — and this yields positive outcomes for development.

For instance, in India, gender equity and elementary education are now receiving more attention from the opposition parties, and as a result, the legislative and executive authorities are now paying attention.

This is just one of many examples of democracy and development working together to yield fruitful outcomes.

The Development Policy and Power program will help me critically explore a wide range of ideologies, institutions and practices related to development policy, which will help nourish my research.

The program will also nourish my understanding of the lively relationship between scholars and policy makers while providing me with a glimpse of the complex relationship between critical research on development policy and the policy making process itself.

This will be helpful because my research on the link between development and democracy seeks to explore how robust political institutions and effective developmental policies can create an equilibrium that will yield the most prosperous societies possible.

I would love to work with all the talented faculty associated with the development policy and power program.

[1] Heo, Uk, and Sung Deuk Hahm. “Democracy, institutional maturity, and economic development.” Social Science Quarterly 96, no. 4 (2015): 1041–1058.

[2] Chen, Baizhu, and Yi Feng. “Economic development and the transition to democracy a formal model.” Social Choice and Welfare 16, no. 1 (1999): 1–16.

[3] Sen, Amartya. Development as freedom. Oxford Paperbacks, 2001.



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