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Legal Institutions, Sectoral Heterogeneity, and Economic Development

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  • CASTRO, Rui
  • CLEMENTI, Gian Luca
  • MACDONALD, Glenn

Abstract

Poor countries have lower PPP–adjusted investment rates and face higher relative prices of investment goods. It has been suggested that this happens either because these countries have a relatively lower TFP in industries producing capital goods, or because they are subject to greater investment distortions. This paper provides a micro–foundation for the cross–country dispersion in investment distortions. We first document that firms producing capital goods face a higher level of idiosyncratic risk than their counterparts producing consumption goods. In a model of capital accumulation where the protection of investors’ rights is incomplete, this difference in risk induces a wedge between the returns on investment in the two sectors. The wedge is bigger, the poorer the investor protection. In turn, this implies that countries endowed with weaker institutions face higher relative prices of investment goods, invest a lower fraction of their income, and end up being poorer. We find that our mechanism may be quantitatively important.

Suggested Citation

  • CASTRO, Rui & CLEMENTI, Gian Luca & MACDONALD, Glenn, 2009. "Legal Institutions, Sectoral Heterogeneity, and Economic Development," Cahiers de recherche 2009-08, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtl:montde:2009-08
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1866/3993
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Macroeconomics; Investment Rate; Overlapping Generations; Relative Prices; Investor Protection; Optimal Contracts;

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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