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Self-Serving Dictators and Economic Growth

Author

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  • Daniel Haile
  • Abdolkarim Sadrieh
  • Harrie A. A Verbon

Abstract

A new line of theoretical and empirical literature emphasizes the pivotal role of fair institutions for growth. We present a model, a laboratory experiment, and a simple cross-country regression supporting this view. We model an economy with an unequal distribution of property rights, in which individuals can free-ride or cooperate. Experimentally we observe a dramatic drop in cooperation (and growth), when inequality is increased by a selfserving dictator. No such effect is observed when the inequality is increased by a fair procedure. Our regression analysis provides basic macroeconomic support for the adverse growth effect of the interaction between the degree and the genesis of inequality. We conclude that economies giving equal opportunities to all are not likely to suffer retarded growth due to inequality in the way economies with self-serving dictators will.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Haile & Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Harrie A. A Verbon, 2003. "Self-Serving Dictators and Economic Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 1105, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1105
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bergh, Andreas & Bjørnskov, Christian, 2013. "Trust, Welfare States and Income Equality: What Causes What?," Working Paper Series 994, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    2. Greiner, Ben & Ockenfels, Axel & Werner, Peter, 2012. "The dynamic interplay of inequality and trust—An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 355-365.
    3. Hopkins, Ed & Kornienko, Tatiana, 2006. "Inequality and growth in the presence of competition for status," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 291-296, November.
    4. Haile, Daniel & Sadrieh, Karim & Verbon, Harrie, 2006. "Cross-racial Envy and Underinvestment in South Africa," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21269, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    5. Ece Yagman & Malcolm Keswell, 2015. "Accents, Race and Discrimination: Evidence from a Trust Game," SALDRU Working Papers 158, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality; corruption; weak institutions; growth; intentions; dynamic public goods;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems

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