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Economic Development as a Matter of Political Geography

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  • Pablo Druck
  • Jorge M. Streb

Abstract

We start out from the hypothesis that limited government leads to low uncertainty and low transaction costs. If political institutions affect the degree of uncertainty and transaction costs, we formally show they should affect the steady state level of income per capita. The impact of uncertainty and transaction costs on income per capita is formalized in a simple capital market model with credit constraints. Empirically, we find increases in political constraints precede economic growth, which is in line with the idea that economic development is driven by political development. Furthermore, only when there are high political constraints is polity persistence positively related to income per capita. We interpret these findings in the sense that limited government is the path towards economic development, being a pre-condition for poor countries to converge towards rich countries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universidad del CEMA in its series CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. with number 182.

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Date of creation: Jan 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cem:doctra:182

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Keywords: limited government; laws; property rights; uncertainty; transaction costs; capital market; convergence; development;

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  1. La Porta, Rafael & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. " Legal Determinants of External Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1131-50, July.
  2. Aron, Janine, 2000. "Growth and Institutions: A Review of the Evidence," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(1), pages 99-135, February.
  3. Jorge C. Ávila, 1998. "El Potencial Argentino de Crecimiento," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 132, Universidad del CEMA.
  4. Sylos Labini,Paolo, 2001. "Underdevelopment," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521588690.
  5. W. J. Henisz, 2000. "The Institutional Environment for Economic Growth," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(1), pages 1-31, 03.
  6. Xavier Freixas & Jean-Charles Rochet, 1997. "Microeconomics of Banking," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061937, December.
  7. Robert Townsend, 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Staff Report 45, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  9. Stephen D. Williamson, 1984. "Costly Monitoring, Loan Contracts and Equilibrium Credit Rationing," Working Papers 572, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  10. Clague, Christopher & Keefer, Philip & Knack, Stephen & Olson, Mancur, 1996. "Property and Contract Rights in Autocracies and Democracies," MPRA Paper 25720, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Clague, Christopher, et al, 1996. " Property and Contract Rights in Autocracies and Democracies," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 243-76, June.
  12. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  13. Gale, Douglas & Hellwig, Martin, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 647-63, October.
  14. Jorge M.Streb, 2001. "Political uncertainty and economic underdevelopment," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 28(1 Year 20), pages 89-114, June.
  15. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 803-832, December.
  16. Pablo Druck & Pietro Garibaldi, 2000. "Inflation Risk and Portfolio Allocation in the Banking System," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 181, Universidad del CEMA.
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Cited by:
  1. Jorge Streb, 2010. "Hume: The power of abduction and simple observation in economics," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 417, Universidad del CEMA.
  2. Jorge M.Streb, 2001. "Political uncertainty and economic underdevelopment," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 28(1 Year 20), pages 89-114, June.

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