Working Paper

The agricultural and the democratic transitions. Causality and the Roundup model


  • Gundlach
  • E.
  • Paldam
  • M.
Publication Date

Long-run development (in income) causes a large fall in the share of agriculture commonly known as the agricultural transition. We confirm that this conventional wisdom is strongly supported by the data. Long-run development (in income) also causes a large increase in democracy known as the democratic transition. Elsewhere we have shown that it is almost as strong as the agricultural transition. Recently, a method has been presented to weed out spuriousness. It makes the democratic transition go away by turning income insignificant, when it is supplemented by a set of formal controls. We show that the same method makes the agricultural transition go away as well. Hence, it seems to be a method that kills far too much, as suggested by the subtitle. This suggestion leads to a discussion of the very meaning of long-run causality.


JEL Classification
O1, P5, Q1

Key Words

  • causality and spuriousness
  • Long-run growth
  • transitions