Has trade openness made East Asian countries more or less democratic? Although numerous studies have explored the economic effects of market integration in the region, few have systematically examined the political consequences of trade liberalization. This research extends previous work by empirically investigating not only direct but also indirect links between trade globalization and democracy in East Asia. I find that the direct negative effect of trade integration on democracy is mitigated by its indirect positive impact via inequality. Empirical evidence is provided by the three-stage least squares method and pooled time-series data from 1975 to 2015 for 13 East Asian states.

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