International Organization

Traders, Teachers, and Tyrants: Democracy, Globalization, and Public Investment in Education

Ben W.  Ansell  a1
a1 University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. E-mail:

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This article develops a model of the redistributive political economy of education spending, focusing on the role of democracy and economic openness in determining the provision of education. I argue that democratization should be associated with higher levels of public education spending, lower private education spending, and a shift from tertiary education spending toward primary education spending. Furthermore, I argue that integration with the international economy should lead to higher public education spending, conditioned on regime type and income, and should push the balance between tertiary and primary education toward states' particular comparative advantages. These propositions are tested on a data set of more than one hundred states from 1960 to 2000, using a variety of panel data techniques, including instruments for democracy. The logic of the causal mechanism developed in the formal model is also tested on a number of case histories, including the Philippines, which shows great variation in democracy and openness, and India and Malaysia, which constitute unusual cases that lie “off the diagonal” of open democracies and autarkic autocracies. a


a The author would like to thank Beth Simmons, Torben Iversen, Michael Hiscox, Jeffry Frieden, Jim Alt, Teri Caraway, John Freeman, Jane Gingrich, David Samuels, W. Phillips Shively, Mark Kayser, John Ahlquist, and Michael Kellerman for highly useful comments and criticisms. In addition, I thank the current and past editors, Lou Pauly, Emanuel Adler, David Stasavage, and Lisa Martin, and three anonymous reviewers for their suggestions.