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Institutional Traps and Economic Growth

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  • Gradstein, Mark

Abstract

This paper's point of departure is that low-quality institutions, concentration of political power, and underdevelopment are persistent over time. Its analytical model views an equal distribution of political power as a commitment device to enhance institutional quality thereby promoting growth. The politically powerful coalition contemplates relinquishing of its power, weighing this advantageous consequence against the limit on own appropriative ability that it entails. The possibility of two developmental paths is exhibited: with concentration of political and economic power, low-quality institutions, and slow growth; and a more equal distribution of political and economic resources, high-quality institutions, and faster growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Gradstein, Mark, 2007. "Institutional Traps and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 6414, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6414
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 2006. "The Persistence of Underdevelopment: Institutions, Human Capital or Constituencies," CEPR Discussion Papers 5867, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Lagunoff, Roger, 2009. "Dynamic stability and reform of political institutions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 569-583, November.
    3. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "Historical legacies: A model linking Africa's past to its current underdevelopment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 157-175, May.
    4. Sonin, Konstantin, 2003. "Why the rich may favor poor protection of property rights," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 715-731, December.
    5. Cervellati Matteo & Fortunato Piergiuseppe & Sunde Uwe, 2012. "Consensual and Conflictual Democratization," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-51, December.
    6. Mark Gradstein, 2007. "Inequality, democracy and the protection of property rights," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 252-269, January.
    7. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2004. "Local Capture: Evidence from a Central Government Transfer Program in Uganda," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 679-705.
    8. Lant Pritchett, 1997. "Divergence, Big Time," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 3-17, Summer.
    9. Kenneth L. Sokoloff & Stanley L. Engerman, 2000. "Institutions, Factor Endowments, and Paths of Development in the New World," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 217-232, Summer.
    10. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 803-832, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    growth; inequality; institutional quality; political bias;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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