•Panel data from 74 countries spanning 1970–2010 is employed.•An examination of how political democracy affects financial development and innovation is conducted.•The enhancing effect of bank market deepening on innovation emerges when political institutions are sufficiently democratic.•The enhancing effect of stock market deepening on innovation requires a lower level of political democracy.•Increasing the state’s openness and competitiveness in executive recruitment for leaders is the main channel.
World Development – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2018
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