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Warum sind einige Länder so viel reicher als andere? Zur institutionellen Erklärung von Entwicklungsunterschieden


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  • Berger, Johannes
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    Die gegenwärtige Lage der Weltwirtschaft ist von enormen Einkommensunterschieden zwischen reichen und armen Ländern geprägt. Entwicklungsunterschiede dieser Art gibt es erst seit der Epoche des modernen wirtschaftlichen Wachstums (Kuznets). Daher steht die Frage zur Beantwortung an, warum einige Länder wirtschaftlich so viel erfolgreicher sind als andere. Im Aufsatz wird die Antwort des ökonomischen Neoinstitutionalismus auf diese Frage behandelt. Dieser Ansatz erblickt in "guten" Institutionen die letztlich entscheidende Ursache des wirtschaftlichen Erfolgs und versteht unter gut Institutionen im Wesentlichen gesicherte Eigentums- und Verfügungsrechte. Ohne die Relevanz "guter" Institutionen grundsätzlich in Zweifel zu ziehen, stellt der Autor kritische Fragen an die Reichweite dieses Ansatzes und plädiert dafür, der Rolle des technischen Fortschritts ein stärkeres Gewicht beizumessen. Entwicklungsunterschiede sind zu einem großen Teil technologisch bedingt. Zwar hängt der technische Fortschritt auch von gesicherten Eigentumsrechten an Erfindungen ab, aber ein auf Dauer gestellter technischer Fortschritt verlangt eine kulturelle Umgebung, die dazu ermutigt, die Grenzen vorhandenen Wissens zu überschreiten. Wenn man die Grundannahme der neoklassischen wachstumstheorie aufgibt, dass der technische Fortschritt autonom und homogen ist, bleiben zwei Wege offen, technologische Heterogenität zu modellieren: Der technische Fortschritt ist entweder ein privates Gut, dessen Erzeugungsrate von länderspezifi schen Forschungsanstrengungen abhängt, oder er ist prinzipiell für alle Länder gleich zugänglich, aber politische und kulturelle Barrieren stehen seiner Ausschöpfung im Wege. Der Aufsatz liebäugelt mit dem letzteren Ansatz und zieht daraus abschließend politische Folgerungen. -- Huge income differences across countries are a striking feature of the world economy today. Such developmental differences did not exist before the 'epoch of modern economic growth' (Kuznets). Therefore the question arises why some countries are economically much more successful than others. The paper discusses how neo-institutionalist economics answers this question. This school of thought views 'good' institutions as the fundamental cause of differences in economic development, defining good institutions as those that secure property rights. While it does not question the relevance of good institutions altogether, the paper proposes putting more emphasis on the role of technological progress. Developmental differences are largely determined by technology. It is true that technological progress depends on secure property rights for inventions, but continuous advances in science require a cultural environment that motivates people to transcend the limits of existing knowledge. If one dismisses the basic assumption of neo-classical growth economics that technological progress is autonomous and homogenous, two ways of conceptualizing a heterogeneous technology remain. Either technological progress is a private good whose rate of production is dependent on country-specific investments in research and development, or it is equally open to all countries, but cannot fulfil its potential because of political and cultural barriers. The paper sympathizes with the latter assumption and concludes with a discussion of its political consequences.

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    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in its series MPIfG Discussion Paper with number 06/6.

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    Date of creation: 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:066

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