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Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government: Big Bills Left on the Sidewalk: Why Some Nations Are Rich, and Others Poor

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  • Mancur Olson

Abstract

Some research presumes that, when rational parties bargain, nothing is left on the table, so that social outcomes are efficient and leave countries on the frontiers of their aggregate production functions. A study of differences in per capita incomes across countries shows that this cannot be the case. Countries' endowments of natural and human resources do not explain any significant part of the variation in incomes and the mobility of capital assures that it is impartially available to all countries. National differences in the quality of policies and institutions across countries mainly account for differences in per capita incomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Mancur Olson, 1996. "Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government: Big Bills Left on the Sidewalk: Why Some Nations Are Rich, and Others Poor," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 3-24, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:10:y:1996:i:2:p:3-24
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.10.2.3
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.10.2.3
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    2. repec:aei:rpbook:24387 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-553, September.
    4. Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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