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An African Growth Trap: Production Technology And The Time-Consistency Of Agricultural Taxation, R&D And Investment

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  • McMillan, Margaret S.
  • Masters, William A.

Abstract

Why do so many African governments consistently impose high tax rates and make little investment in productive public goods, when alternative policies could yield greater tax revenues and higher national income? We posit and test an intertemporal political economy model in which the government sets tax and R&D levels while investors respond with production. Equilibrium policy and growth rates depend on initial cost structure. We find that in many (but not all) African countries, low tax/high investment regimes would be time-inconsistent, primarily because production technology requires relatively large sunk costs. For pro-growth policies to become sustainable, commitment mechanisms or new production techniques would be needed.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Agecon Search in its series Miscellaneous Papers with number 11839.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ags:miscpa:11839

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Web page: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/

Related research

Keywords: International Development; Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies;

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References

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  1. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
  2. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Trade Policy and Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," NBER Working Papers 6562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bernard, Andrew B & Jones, Charles I, 1996. "Comparing Apples to Oranges: Productivity Convergence and Measurement across Industries and Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1216-38, December.
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Lilyan E. Fulginiti & Richard K. Perrin, 2005. "LDC Agriculture: Non-parametric Malmquist productivity indexes," Development and Comp Systems 0502025, EconWPA.
  6. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  7. Angela Lusigi & Colin Thirtle, 1997. "Total Factor Productivity And The Effects Of R&D In African Agriculture," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(4), pages 529-538.
  8. Sachs, Jeffrey D & Warner, Andrew M, 1997. "Sources of Slow Growth in African Economies," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 6(3), pages 335-76, October.
  9. Masters, William A. & Bedingar, Touba & Oehmke, James F., 1998. "The impact of agricultural research in Africa: aggregate and case study evidence," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 19(1-2), pages 81-86, September.
  10. Hertel, Thomas W & Masters, William A & Elbehri, Aziz, 1998. "The Uruguay Round and Africa: A Global, General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 7(2), pages 208-36, July.
  11. Richard J. Gilbert & David M. Newbery, 1994. "The Dynamic Efficiency of Regulatory Constitutions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(4), pages 538-554, Winter.
  12. Alston, Julian M. & Wyatt, T. J. & Pardey, Philip G. & Marra, Michele C. & Chan-Kang, Connie, 2000. "A meta-analysis of rates of return to agricultural R & D: ex pede Herculem?," Research reports 113, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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Cited by:
  1. McMillan, Margaret & Masters, William A. & Kazianga, Harounan, 2012. "Rural demography, public services, and land rights in Africa: A village-level analysis in Burkina Faso," IFPRI discussion papers 1164, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Chih Ming Tan, 2010. "No one true path: uncovering the interplay between geography, institutions, and fractionalization in economic development," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(7), pages 1100-1127, November/.
  3. Bamou, Ernest & Masters, William A., 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Cameroon," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48518, World Bank.
  4. Masters, William A. & Garcia, Andres F., 2009. "Agricultural Price Distortion and Stabilization: Stylized facts and Hypothesis Tests," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 50301, World Bank.

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