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Why aren't countries rich?: Weak states and bad neighbourhoods

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  • Charles Kenny

Abstract

This article challenges a common viewpoint that the policy choices made by state leaders are central to explanations of economic growth. It argues that there are two possible flaws in this viewpoint. First, that state leaders have a free choice in policy decisions; second, that it is policies that in large part determine growth rates. Using a set of variables designed to capture the weakness of the policy autonomy of the state and possible non-policy influences on growth rates, the article concludes that initial conditions are a better determinant of wealth and growth than free policy choice.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles Kenny, 1999. "Why aren't countries rich?: Weak states and bad neighbourhoods," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(5), pages 26-47.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:35:y:1999:i:5:p:26-47
    DOI: 10.1080/00220389908422590
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    Cited by:

    1. Kenny, Charles & Williams, David, 2001. "What Do We Know About Economic Growth? Or, Why Don't We Know Very Much?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-22, January.
    2. Kenny, Charles, 2002. "The Internet and Economic Growth in Least Developed Countries," WIDER Working Paper Series 075, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Clemens, Michael A. & Kenny, Charles J. & Moss, Todd J., 2007. "The Trouble with the MDGs: Confronting Expectations of Aid and Development Success," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 735-751, May.
    4. Joilson Dias & John McDermott, 2011. "Institutions, Humancapital And Economic Growth: A New Theoretical And Empirical Approach," Anais do XXXVII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 37th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 83, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].

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