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Institutional Traps And Economic Growth


  • Mark Gradstein


This article's point of departure is that low-quality institutions, concentration of political power and material wealth, and underdevelopment are persistent over time. Its analytical model views an equal distribution of political power as a commitment device to enhance institutional quality, thereby promoting growth. The politically powerful coalition contemplates relinquishing of its power through democratization, weighing this advantageous consequence against the limit on own appropriative ability that it entails. The possibility of two developmental paths is exhibited: with concentration of political and economic power, low-quality institutions, and slow growth; and a more equal distribution of political and economic resources, high-quality institutions, and faster growth. Copyright © 2008 the Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Gradstein, 2008. "Institutional Traps And Economic Growth," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(3), pages 1043-1066, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:49:y:2008:i:3:p:1043-1066

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Cunha-e-Sa, Maria Antonieta & Madureira, Livia & Nunes, Luis Catela & Otrachshenko, Vladimir, 2010. "Protesting or Justifying? A Latent Class Model for Contingent Valuation with Attitudinal Data," FEUNL Working Paper Series wp547, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
    2. repec:elg:eechap:15325_3 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Van Long, Ngo, 2013. "The theory of contests: A unified model and review of the literature," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 161-181.
    4. Christopher J. Ellis & John Fender, 2014. "Public Sector Capital and the Transition from Dictatorship to Democracy," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 82(3), pages 322-346, June.
    5. Gradstein, Mark, 2017. "Government decentralization as a commitment in non-democracies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 110-118.
    6. Nuno Torres & Óscar Afonso & Isabel Soares, 2013. "Manufacturing skill-biased wage inequality, natural resources and institutions," CEF.UP Working Papers 1303, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    7. Neelum Nigar, 2015. "The Composite Impact of Institutional Quality and Inequality on Economic Growth," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 54(4), pages 779-791.
    8. Rodriguez Acosta, Mauricio, 2016. "Essays in political economy and resource economic : A macroeconomic approach," Other publications TiSEM 1e39ef1b-43a2-4f95-892c-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    9. Lagerlöf Nils-Petter, 2012. "A Dynamic Theory of Competence, Loyalty and Stability in Dictatorships," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-39, March.
    10. Mark Gradstein, 2014. "Government Decentralization as a Commitment," CESifo Working Paper Series 4809, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Nuno Torres & Óscar Afonso & Isabel Soares, 2013. "A survey of literature on the resource curse: critical analysis of the main explanations, empirical tests and resource proxies," CEF.UP Working Papers 1302, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    12. Kim, Se-Um, 2008. "The Technological Origins of the High School Movement," MPRA Paper 12087, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Maria Cunha-e-Sá & Lívia Madureira & Luis Nunes & Vladimir Otrachshenko, 2012. "Protesting and Justifying: A Latent Class Model for Contingent Valuation with Attitudinal Data," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 52(4), pages 531-548, August.

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