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In Search of the Holy Grail: Policy Convergence, Experimentation, and Economic Performance

Listed author(s):
  • Sharun W. Mukand
  • Dani Rodrik

We consider a model of policy choice in which appropriate policies depend on a country's own circumstances, but the presence of a successful leader generates an informational externality and results in too little 'policy experimentation.' Corrupt governments are reined in while honest governments are disciplined inefficiently. Our model yields distinct predictions about the patterns of policy imitation, corruption, and economic performance as a function of a country''s location vis-……-vis successful leaders. In particular, it predicts a U-shaped pattern in economic performance as we move away from the leader in the relevant space of characteristics: close neighbors should do very well, distant countries moderately well on average with considerable variance, and intermediate countries worst of all. An empirical test with the experience of post-socialist countries provides supportive results.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 95 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 374-383

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:95:y:2005:i:1:p:374-383
Note: DOI: 10.1257/0002828053828707
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  1. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1992. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote Seeking, Tax Setting and Yardstick Competition," NBER Working Papers 4041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Mukand, Sharun W., 2006. "Globalization and the `confidence game'," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 406-427, December.
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  17. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Governance matters," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2196, The World Bank.
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  19. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
  20. de Melo, Martha & Denizer, Cevdet & Gelb, Alan & Tenev, Stoyan, 1997. "Circumstance and choice : the role of initial conditions and policies in transition economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1866, The World Bank.
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