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The Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace

  • Date
  • December 2004

The Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace (a Council on Foreign Relations book—published by Routledge), coauthored by Open Society Institute Director of U.S. Advocacy Morton Halperin (with Joseph T. Siegle and Michael M. Weinstein) and featuring a foreword by George Soros, makes the case for the superiority of democratic development. Made possible with support from the Open Society Institute, the book outlines a new vision for foreign policy that combines the best of America's democratic and economic values.

For decades, policies pursued by the United States and other industrialized nations toward the developing world have been based on a dirty little secret among policy experts: democracy and development don't mix. The Democracy Advantage makes a compelling case that they do.

Using 40 years of empirical data from countries as diverse as China, India, Iraq, and Chile, The Democracy Advantage shows that poor democracies surpass poor autocracies on nearly every economic measure of consequence. The book offers evidence that democracies are more stable: they are less likely to fall into armed civil conflict, experience humanitarian catastrophes, or breed international terrorists than are authoritarian countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.

The Democracy Advantage incorporates into its analysis social welfare dimensions of development—indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality, and girls' education—on which democracies dramatically excel.

The first chapter of The Democracy Advantage is available to download.

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