It is often maintained that democracy is a luxury which comes at a price in terms of subsequent slower increases in national living standards. However, various recent cross-section studies on economic growth have found evidence that lack of civil and political liberties is negatively correlated with economic growth. Using a new measure of democracy, which is based upon the number of years that a country can be regarded as a democracy, the robustness of this relationship is examined. Both direct and indirect effects of lack of democratic liberties are analysed. Our main conclusion is that the relationship between democracy and economic growth is not rubust.