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Private investment and political uncertainty

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  • David Stasavage
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    Abstract

    Recent theoretical and empirical work has demonstrated a clear negative link between macroeconomic and political uncertainty and levels of private investment across countries. This result raises the question what institutions might help reduce this uncertainty, in particular by allowing host governments to limit their own possibilities to act opportunistically with respect to investors. Some have argued that governments might benefit from joining a multilateral investment agreement, but there remain doubts both about the enforceability and the desirability of such an accord. An alternative possibility, proposed in a seminal article by North and Weingast (1989), is that political institutions characterized by checks and balances can allow governments to credibly commit not to engage in ex post opportunism with respect to investors. In this paper I propose a modified version of this hypothesis and test it using new cross-country data on political institutions. I also use a quantile regression technique which allows the estimated effect of political institutions to vary across countries and over time.

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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/6653/
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 6653.

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    Length: 42 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2000
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:6653

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    Keywords: Political institutions; private investment; credible commitment; quantile regression;

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    1. Joshua Aizenman & Nancy P. Marion, 1996. "Volatility and the Investment Response," NBER Working Papers 5841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
    3. Robertson, D & Symons, J, 1992. "Some Strange Properties of Panel Data Estimators," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(2), pages 175-89, April-Jun.
    4. 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.
    5. Robert J. Barro, 1994. "Democracy & Growth," NBER Working Papers 4909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. 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.
    7. Russell Davidson & James G. MacKinnon, 1980. "Several Tests for Model Specification in the Presence of Alternative Hypotheses," Working Papers 378, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    8. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Representative democracy and capital taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 53-70, September.
    9. Russell Davidson & James G. MacKinnon, 1981. "Tests for Model Specification in the Presence of Alternative Hypotheses: Some Further Results," Working Papers 430, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    10. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
    11. Buchinsky, Moshe, 1994. "Changes in the U.S. Wage Structure 1963-1987: Application of Quantile Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 405-58, March.
    12. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
    13. Pesaran, M. Hashem & Smith, Ron, 1995. "Estimating long-run relationships from dynamic heterogeneous panels," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 79-113, July.
    14. 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.
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    Cited by:
    1. Thomas Farole & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Michael Storper, 2007. "Social capital, rules, and institutions: A cross-country investigation," Working Papers 2007-12, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.

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