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On the Efficacy of Reforms: Policy Tinkering, Institutional Change, and Entrepreneurship

  • Murat Iyigun
  • Dani Rodrik

We analyze the interplay of policy reform and entrepreneurship in a model where investment decisions and policy outcomes are both subject to uncertainty. The production costs of non-traditional activities are unknown and can only be discovered by entrepreneurs who make sunk investments. The policy maker has access to two strategies: policy tinkering,' which corresponds to a new draw from a pre-existing policy regime, and institutional reform,' which corresponds to a draw from a different regime and imposes an adjustment cost on incumbent firms. Tinkering and institutional reform both have their respective advantages. Institutional reforms work best in settings where entrepreneurial activity is weak, while it is likely to produce disappointing outcomes where the cost discovery process is vibrant. We present cross-country evidence that strongly supports such a conditional relationship.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10455.

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Date of creation: Apr 2004
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Publication status: published as Eicher, Theo S. and Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa (eds.) Institutions, Development, and Economic Growth CESifo Seminar Series. Cambridge and London: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10455
Note: CF PE
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  1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 2001. "Creative Destruction and Development : Institutions, Crises and Restructuring," DELTA Working Papers 2001-04, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  2. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2003. "Economic development as self-discovery," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 603-633, December.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2002. "Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 9066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Friedman, Eric & Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 2000. "Dodging the grabbing hand: the determinants of unofficial activity in 69 countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 459-493, June.
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