Political credibility and economic growth in less developed countries
While the mainstream of economic development theory focuses on the efficiency of policy measures, the role of the credibility of these measures is rarely analyzed. In this paper we argue that in less developed countries the problem of establishing the credibility of policy measures is at least as important as the problem of choosing the efficient policy solution. We claim that many of the difficulties less developed countries face can be understood in terms of lack of effective control on the discretionary power of governments, which ultimately leads to policies that are not credible. The private sector anticipates large swings in policies and reacts by withholding its resources. Symptoms of these credibility problems in less developed countries include the size of the informal sector, capital flight, and the reluctance of investors to commit capital. All of these reactions contribute to the slow economic growth in these countries. This paper concludes that establishing strategies for the control of state discretionary power is a crucial precondition for overcoming these problems and generating long term economic growth. Copyright George Mason University 1994
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