Predation, Protection, and Accumulation: Endogenous Property Rights in an Overlapping Generations Growth Model
We study a simple growth model with overlapping generations in which property rights are insecure. Insecurity of property rights leads to predation. Due to predation some of the resources are used for protection purposes. Both predation and protection remove resources from the accumulation process. In the model individuals allocate their labor between working for firms and appropriating output from them. Firms allocate their capital between production and protection. Without government, the model generates a unique but inefficient equilibrium. We show that in this equilibrium the level of output is increasing in the rate of effectiveness of protection, the relative utility of honesty, and the discount rate. Further, the equilibrium level of output is dynamically inefficient. We then extend the model to include a government as the sole provider of the public good “protection”. Protection is assumed to be financed by a capital tax imposed on firms. The model then yields multiple equilibria, with both a stable high-protection low-predation equilibrium, and a stable low-protection high-predation equilibrium. Which equilibrium a country is most likely to achieve, and how difficult it is for a country to move to the more desirable low-predation high-protection equilibrium, depend crucially on the parameters of the model describing the economy’s institutional structure. Hence, the results of the model support the emphasis placed by the World Bank on the importance for growth of strengthening institutional structures in developing countries. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005
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