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Prescription: Political Preference Functions Versus Social Welfare Functions


  • Gordon C. Rausser
  • Pinhas Zusman


Available evidence taken from the experience of many countries strongly suggests that bad governments and institutions have been serious, if not the most serious, obstacle to economic growth; and all public sectors pursue a mix of both predatory and productive activities—bad governments emphasizing the former, and good governments finding a way of promoting the latter. Depending on your perspective, unfortunately or fortunately, participants in the public-sector policy process generally pay little attention to the advice and counsel of the economics profession. This, in part, is explained by the confusion that emerges from our profession over the role of the public sector. Some would have us believe that the government, or the public sector, is nothing more than a "clearing house" while still others advance frameworks that treat the public sector as a benign pursuer of the public interest.

Suggested Citation

  • Gordon C. Rausser & Pinhas Zusman, 1992. "Prescription: Political Preference Functions Versus Social Welfare Functions," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 90-gatt21, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ias:cpaper:90-gatt21

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    1. Cote, Agathe, 1987. "The Link between the U.S. Dollar Real Exchange Rate, Real Primary Commodity Prices, and LDCs' Terms of Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(3), pages 547-551, August.
    2. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1985. "External Debt and Macroeconomic Performance in Latin America and East Asia," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 16(2), pages 523-573.
    3. Rudiger Dornbusch, 1985. "Policy and Performance Links between LDC Debtors and Industrial Nations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 16(2), pages 303-368.
    4. Gilbert, Christopher L, 1989. "The Impact of Exchange Rates and Developing Country Debt on Commodity Prices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 773-784, September.
    5. Valdés, Alberto & Zietz, Joachim A., 1980. "Agricultural protection in OECD countries: its cost to less-developed countries," Research reports 21, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. E. C. Hwa, 1979. "Price Determination in Several International Primary Commodity Markets: A Structural Analysis (La détermination des prix sur plusieurs marchés internationaux de produits primaires de base: Analyse s," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 26(1), pages 157-188, March.
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