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Capital and growth with oligarchic property rights

  • Serguey Braguinsky

    (SUNY Buffalo)

  • Roger Myerson

    (University of Chicago)

To analyze effects of imperfect property rights on economic growth, we consider economies where some fraction of capital can be owned only by local oligarchs, whose status is subject to political risk. Political risk decreases local capital and wages. Risk-averse oligarchs acquire safe foreign assets for insurance, thus increasing wages in other countries that protect outside investors. We show that for empirically reasonable parameter values, reforms to decrease political risk or to protect more outsiders' investments can decrease local oligarchs' welfare by increasing wages, making such reforms prone to political resistance from the ruling elite. We suggest measures of property rights imperfections derived from empirically observable data, and we test the quantitative predictions of our model using those measures and other parameter values routinely assumed in growth theory. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 10 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 676-704

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:06-195
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  1. Philip R. Lane & Aaron Tornell, 1999. "The Voracity Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 22-46, March.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "The Injustice of Inequality," NBER Working Papers 9150, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Tornell, Aaron & Velasco, Andes, 1992. "The Tragedy of the Commons and Economic Growth: Why Does Capital Flow from Poor to Rich Countries?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1208-31, December.
  4. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "The Form of Property Rights: Oligarchic vs. Democratic Societies," NBER Working Papers 10037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Serguey Braguinsky & Roger Myerson, 2007. "A macroeconomic model of Russian transition," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 15(1), pages 77-107, 03.
  6. Konstantin Sonin, 2002. "Why the Rich May Favor Poor Protection of Property Rights," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 544, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  7. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 92-96, May.
  8. Leonid Polishchuk & Alexei Savvateev, 2004. "Spontaneous (non)emergence of property rights," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 12(1), pages 103-127, 03.
  9. repec:oup:qjecon:v:106:y:1991:i:2:p:503-30 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Daron Acemoglu, 2006. "Modeling Inefficient Institutions," NBER Working Papers 11940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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