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White Elephants and the Limits to Efficient Investment

  • Frank Bohn

This paper studies a policymaker’s optimal choice between redistribution and efficient public investment. Under political instability, there is myopic government behavior which results in underinvestment. Above some critical value of political instability, it is optimal not to invest at all. This finding also suggests that it may be rational for governments to refrain from anti-corruption investment, even if they are not rent-seeking themselves.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200413.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: May 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:200413
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  1. Robinson, James A. & Torvik, Ragnar, 2005. "White elephants," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 197-210, February.
  2. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  3. Alex Cukierman & Sebastian Edwards & Guido Tabellini, 1989. "Seigniorage and Political Instability," NBER Working Papers 3199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lien, Da-Hsiang Donald, 1986. "A note on competitive bribery games," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 337-341.
  5. Lui, Francis T, 1985. "An Equilibrium Queuing Model of Bribery," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 760-81, August.
  6. Svensson, Jakob, 1998. "Investment, property rights and political instability: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(7), pages 1317-1341, July.
  7. Beck, Paul J. & Maher, Michael W., 1986. "A comparison of bribery and bidding in thin markets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 1-5.
  8. Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Khalid Sekkat, 2005. "Does corruption grease or sand the wheels of growth?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 69-97, January.
  9. Frank Bohn, 2004. "The trade-off between monetary and fiscal solidity : international lenders and political instability," Working Papers 200408, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  10. Devereux, Michael B. & Wen, Jean-Francois, 1998. "Political instability, capital taxation, and growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 1635-1651, November.
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