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Self-Serving Dictators and Economic Growth

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  • Daniel Haile
  • Abdolkarim Sadrieh
  • Harrie A. A Verbon

Abstract

A new line of theoretical and empirical literature emphasizes the pivotal role of fair institutions for growth. We present a model, a laboratory experiment, and a simple cross-country regression supporting this view. We model an economy with an unequal distribution of property rights, in which individuals can free-ride or cooperate. Experimentally we observe a dramatic drop in cooperation (and growth), when inequality is increased by a selfserving dictator. No such effect is observed when the inequality is increased by a fair procedure. Our regression analysis provides basic macroeconomic support for the adverse growth effect of the interaction between the degree and the genesis of inequality. We conclude that economies giving equal opportunities to all are not likely to suffer retarded growth due to inequality in the way economies with self-serving dictators will.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1105.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1105

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Keywords: inequality; corruption; weak institutions; growth; intentions; dynamic public goods;

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  1. Gary E Bolton & Jordi Brandts & Axel Ockenfels, 2005. "Fair Procedures: Evidence from Games Involving Lotteries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 1054-1076, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Daniel Haile & Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Harrie A. A Verbon, 2006. "Cross-Racial Envy and Underinvestment in South Africa," CESifo Working Paper Series 1657, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Bergh, Andreas & Bjørnskov, Christian, 2013. "Trust, Welfare States and Income Equality: What Causes What?," Working Paper Series 994, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  3. Greiner, Ben & Ockenfels, Axel & Werner, Peter, 2012. "The dynamic interplay of inequality and trust—An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 355-365.
  4. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2005. "Inequality and Growth in the Presence of Competition for Status," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000554, UCLA Department of Economics.

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