The Political Economy of Inclusive Rural Growth
Abstract Commentators on the `East Asian Miracle' of inclusive growth have often pointed toward shared rural growth policies. But why were these policies not chosen elsewhere? This paper models voters who invest in either subsistence or a complex technology in which public goods complement private capital. Investment and technology choices vary with wealth and the level of public goods enforced by political lobbies. Outcomes depend on the strength of the incipient middle class who bolster political incentives through contributions. Economies with a stronger middle class due to lower inequality or lower risk may thereby sustain higher productivity through public good provision.
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