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Comment on "Evaluating Recipes for Development Success": The Policy Usefulness of Institutional and Political Analyses of Development

  • Philip Keefer

In "Evaluating Recipes for Development Success" Avinash Dixit criticizes recent efforts to identify the "fundamental" causes of development and to distill policy recommendations from these efforts. This comment focuses on the strand of that literature related to institutions and development. Two arguments are important: that the rule of law and the security of property rights are important for growth and that they are the product of political institutions. Professor Dixit argues that identification and other concerns undermine the second argument and inhibit the formulation of policy recommendations. While these concerns are valid, research has begun to disaggregate broad political institutions (democracy and autocracy) and to look at the details of political competition, such as voter information and politician credibility, which are both more robust determinants of political decision-making and more susceptible to policy interventions. Copyright The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / the world bank . All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Research Observer.

Volume (Year): 22 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 159-164

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:22:y:2007:i:2:p:159-164
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