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The Impact of Simple Institutions in Experimental Economies with Poverty Traps


  • C. Mónica Capra
  • Tomomi Tanaka
  • Colin F. Camerer
  • Lauren Munyan
  • Veronica Sovero
  • Lisa Wang
  • Charles Noussair


We introduce an experimental approach to study the effect of institutions on economic growth. In each period, agents produce and trade output in a market, and allocate it to consumption and investment. Productivity is higher if total capital stock is above a threshold. The threshold externality generates two steady states - a suboptimal 'poverty trap' and an optimal steady state. In a baseline treatment, the economies converge to the poverty trap. However, the ability to make public announcements or to vote on competing and binding policies, increases output, welfare and capital stock. Combining these two simple institutions guarantees that the economies escape the poverty trap. Copyright © The Author(s). Journal compilation © Royal Economic Society 2009.
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  • C. Mónica Capra & Tomomi Tanaka & Colin F. Camerer & Lauren Munyan & Veronica Sovero & Lisa Wang & Charles Noussair, 2005. "The Impact of Simple Institutions in Experimental Economies with Poverty Traps," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000662, UCLA Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:666156000000000662

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    Cited by:

    1. David Cooper, 2006. "Are experienced managers experts at overcoming coordination failure?," Artefactual Field Experiments 00037, The Field Experiments Website.
    2. Sean Crockett, 2013. "Price Dynamics In General Equilibrium Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 421-438, July.
    3. Ferruccio Ponzano & Roberto Ricciuti, 2012. "An Experimental AK Model of Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 3744, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Jordi Brandts & David J. Cooper, 2005. "It's What You Say Not What You Pay," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 643.05, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    5. Bernard, Mark & Dreber, Anna & Strimling, Pontus & Eriksson, Kimmo, 2013. "The subgroup problem: When can binding voting on extractions from a common pool resource overcome the tragedy of the commons?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 122-130.
    6. Fehr, Ernst & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2007. "Money illusion and coordination failure," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 246-268, February.
    7. Jordi Brandts & David Cooper, 2006. "Observability and overcoming coordination failure in organizations: An experimental study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(4), pages 407-423, December.
    8. Juan Camilo Cárdenas, 2009. "Experiments in Environment and Development," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 157-182, September.
    9. C. Monica Capra & Tomomi Tanaka, 2006. "Communication and the Extraction of Natural Renewable Resources with Threshold Externalities," Emory Economics 0602, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    10. repec:pit:wpaper:334 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. R. Isaac & Douglas Norton, 2013. "Endogenous institutions and the possibility of reverse crowding out," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 253-284, July.
    12. Jordi Brandts & David J. Cooper, 2005. "It's What You Say Not What You Pay. An Experimental Study of Manager-Employee Relationship in Overcoming Coordination Failure," Working Papers 162, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    13. Lybbert, Travis J. & Galarza, Francisco B. & McPeak, John G. & Barrett, Christopher B. & Boucher, Stephen R. & Carter, Michael R. & Chantarat, Sommarat & Fadlaoui, Aziz & Mude, Andrew G., 2010. "Dynamic Field Experiments in Development Economics: Risk Valuation in Morocco, Kenya, and Peru," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 39(2), April.
    14. Fernando Gabriel Im & David Rosenblatt, 2015. "Middle-Income Traps: A Conceptual and Empirical Survey," Journal of International Commerce, Economics and Policy (JICEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 6(03), pages 1-39.
    15. Noussair, C.N. & Pfajfar, D. & Zsiros, J., 2011. "Frictions, Persistence, and Central Bank Policy in an Experimental Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Economy," Discussion Paper 2011-030, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.

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