Political Ambiguity and Economic Development: The MENA Countries
In this paper we provide a coherent framework for analyzing the impact of incalculable political risk, i.e. political ambiguity, on economic development and the choice of development strategy. Using indicators for the levels of internal and external political ambiguity, we analyze the growth paths of MENA countries based on annual data for the period from 1980 to 2008. Succession rules for governments are our indicator for internal political ambiguity, the potential for becoming involved in disruptive international conflicts serves as an indicator for external political ambiguity. Our results show that political ambiguity has a negative impact on both the level of per capita GDP and its growth. Our theoretical model suggests that political ambiguity biases development strategies, leading to an underinvestment in intensive sources of growth.
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