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Africa’s growth trap: a political-economy model of taxation, R&D and investment

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  • Willian A Masters and Margaret S McMillan

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. For progrowth policies to become sustainable, commitment mechanisms or new production techniques would be needed.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/2000-14.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2000
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/2000-14

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Related research

Keywords: time consistency; agricultural policy; tax regimes and growth.;

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  1. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
  2. Besley, Timothy, 1997. "Monopsony and Time-Consistency: Sustainable Pricing Policies for Perennial Crops," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 57-70, February.
  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. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Trade Policy and Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," NBER Working Papers 6562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1998. "Troubles with the Neighbours: Africa's Problem, Africa's Opportunity," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 7(1), pages 120-42, March.
  6. Robert J. Barro, 2012. "Inflation and Economic Growth," CEMA Working Papers 568, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  7. Robert J. Barro, 1989. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 3120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
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