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Does Economic Performance Correlate with Big Government?

  • Peter Gordon
  • Lanlan Wang

Development is a systematic and evolutionary process, which is not limited to the improvement of economic performance per se. Institutions that support economic freedom and governments that may or may not support development and freedom probably evolve together. A recent study by La Porta et al (1999) examines these relationships and finds, among other things, that there is a positive link between big government and economic development. We reexamine these links with international cross-sectional data for five periods and find that economic freedom and development do reinforce each other but that the size and scope of government does not play a strong role.

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Article provided by Econ Journal Watch in its journal Econ Journal Watch.

Volume (Year): 1 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 192-221

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Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:1:y:2004:i:2:p:192-221
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  1. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, . "The Quality of Government," Working Paper 19452, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  2. repec:cto:journl:v:18:y:1998:i:2:p: is not listed on IDEAS
  3. W. Kenn Farr & Richard A. Lord & J. Larry Wolfenbarger, 1998. "Economic Freedom, Political Freedom, and Economic Well-Being: A Causality Analysis," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 18(2), pages 247-262, Fall.
  4. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
  5. James Gwartney & Randal Holcombe & Robert Lawson, 1998. "The Scope of Government and the Wealth of Nations," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 18(2), pages 163-190, Fall.
  6. Manuel Vega-Gordillo & José L. Ãlvarez-Arce, 2003. "Economic Growth and Freedom: A Causality Study," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 23(2), pages 199-215, Fall.
  7. de Haan, Jakob & Sturm, Jan-Egbert, 2003. "Does more democracy lead to greater economic freedom? New evidence for developing countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 547-563, September.
  8. Zucker, Lynne G & Darby, Michael R, 1999. "Comment on "The Quality of Government": Why Do Some Governments Have Better Institutions Than Others?," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 280-82, April.
  9. KIRMANOGLU Hasan, . "Political Freedom and Economic Well-being: A Causality Analysis," EcoMod2003 330700081, EcoMod.
  10. Benjamin Powell, 2003. "Economic Freedom and Growth: The Case of the Celtic Tiger," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 22(3), pages 431-448, Winter.
  11. Davis, Lance & North, Douglass, 1970. "Institutional Change and American Economic Growth: A First Step Towards a Theory of Institutional Innovation," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(01), pages 131-149, March.
  12. Fölster, Stefan & Henrekson, Magnus, 2000. "Growth Effects of Government Expenditure and Taxation in Rich Countries," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 391, Stockholm School of Economics.
  13. Agell, Jonas & Lindh, Thomas & Ohlsson, Henry, 1997. "Growth and the public sector: A critical review essay," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 33-52, February.
  14. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. World Bank, 2003. "World Development Indicators 2003," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13920.
  16. Fölster, Stefan & Henrekson, Magnus, 1997. "Growth and the Public Sector: A Critique of the Critics," Working Paper Series 492, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 10 Jun 1998.
  17. John W. Dawson, 2001. "Causality in the Freedom-Growth Relationship," Working Papers 01-04, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  18. Pranab Bardhan, 1993. "Symposium on Democracy and Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 45-49, Summer.
  19. Andrzej Rapaczynski, 1996. "The Roles of the State and the Market in Establishing Property Rights," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 87-103, Spring.
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