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Crop yield and democracy

Per G. Fredriksson, PhD J.B. Angs S.K. Gupta
Land Economics. March 1, 2020

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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.