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Take the money and run: Political turnover, rent-seeking and economic growth


  • Caporale, Tony
  • Leirer, Jonathan


We find a negative and significant relationship between gubernatorial turnover and U.S. state economic growth. Although our finding of an inverse relationship between growth and political instability may seem to contradict Olson's (1982a) famous hypothesis regarding the growth retarding nature of political stability, such constitutional political changes were not primarily what Olson had in mind. We argue that enhanced political turnover is associated with more rent-seeking since payoffs to focusing on special interest (redistributive) policies vs. general (growth enhancing) ones are greater for less durable regimes. Therefore, we interpret our evidence as supportive of Olson's broader argument concerning the negative affect of rent-seeking behavior on growth.

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  • Caporale, Tony & Leirer, Jonathan, 2010. "Take the money and run: Political turnover, rent-seeking and economic growth," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 406-412, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:76:y:2010:i:2:p:406-412

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Poitras, Marc & Sutter, Daniel, 2000. "Enhancing Efficiency or Crying Over Spilled Milk: The Benefits of Reform," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(1-2), pages 23-40, October.
    2. Barro, Robert J, 1996. "Democracy and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, March.
    3. Olson, Mancur, 1984. "Beyond Keynesianism and Monetarism," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(3), pages 297-322, July.
    4. 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.
    5. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 403-414.
    6. repec:hoo:wpaper:e-95-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Randall G. Holcombe & Donald J. Lacombe, 2004. "The Effect of State Income Taxation on Per Capita Income Growth," Public Finance Review, , vol. 32(3), pages 292-312, May.
    8. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
    9. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-963, September.
    10. Friedman, Milton, 1992. "Do Old Fallacies Ever Die?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 2129-2132, December.
    11. Glaeser, Edward L. & Scheinkman, JoseA. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1995. "Economic growth in a cross-section of cities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 117-143, August.
    12. Quiggin, John, 1992. "Testing the Implications of the Olson Hypothesis," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 59(235), pages 261-277, August.
    13. Alesina, Alberto & Özler, Sule & Roubini, Nouriel & Swagel, Phillip, 1996. "Political Instability and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 189-211, June.
    14. Olson, Mancur, 1982. "Stagflation and the Political Economy of the Decline in Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 143-148, May.
    15. Mueller, Dennis C, 1982. "Redistribution, Growth, and Political Stability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 155-159, May.
    16. Wallis, John Joseph & Oates, Wallace E, 1988. "Does Economic Sclerosis Set in with Age? An Empirical Study of the Olson Hypothesis," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(3), pages 397-417.
    17. Levin, Andrew & Lin, Chien-Fu & James Chu, Chia-Shang, 2002. "Unit root tests in panel data: asymptotic and finite-sample properties," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 1-24, May.
    18. J. Barkley Rosser Jr, 2007. "The Rise and Decline of Mancur Olson's View of The Rise and Decline of Nations," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(1), pages 4-17, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Fałkowski & Grażyna Bukowska, 2016. "Monopolizacja władzy a wyniki gospodarcze na poziomie Polski lokalnej," Gospodarka Narodowa, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 2, pages 91-120.
    2. Cole, Ismail M., 2014. "Short- and long-term growth effects of special interest groups in the U.S. states: A dynamic panel error-correction approach," MPRA Paper 54455, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 02 Mar 2014.
    3. Uddin, Md Akther & Masih, Mansur, 2016. "War and peace: why is political stability pivotal for economic growth of OIC countries?," MPRA Paper 71678, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. repec:eee:ecmode:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:610-625 is not listed on IDEAS


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