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Submitted by Shanta on

Sabira, thanks for your question. The overall correlation between democracy and growth (across countries) is not very strong, although it's mildly positive. The relationship with poverty is similarly weak but negative, because of growth's strong effect on poverty reduction. Even at the micro level, the existence of democracy does not guarantee against the capture of rents by elites. The reason is that elections are not a fool-proof way of citizens' holding their leaders accountable. People may vote along ethnic lines, for instance, in which case politicians don't need to deliver results to the poor in order to be elected. Democracy is probably necessary for pro-poor growth, but is clearly not sufficient.