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Boondoogles and expropriation : rent-sseking and policy distortion when property rights are insecure

Author

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  • Keefer, Philip
  • Knack, Stephen

Abstract

Most analyses of property rights and economic development point to the negative influence of insecure property rights on private investment. The authors focus instead on the largely unexamined effects of insecure property rights on government policy choices. They identify one significant anomaly-dramatically higher public investment in countries with insecure property rights-and use it to make the following broad claims about insecure property rights; 1) They increase rent-seeking. 2) They may reduce the incentives of governments to use tax revenues for productive purposes, such as public investment. 3) They do so whether one regards the principal problem of insecure property rights as the maintenance of law and order, which government spending can potentially remedy, or as the threat of expropriation by government itself, and therefore not remediable by government spending. The authors present substantial empirical evidence to support these claims.

Suggested Citation

  • Keefer, Philip & Knack, Stephen, 2002. "Boondoogles and expropriation : rent-sseking and policy distortion when property rights are insecure," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2910, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2910
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Florian Englmaier & Markus Reisinger, 2008. "Information, Coordination and the Industrialization of Countries," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 54(3), pages 534-550, September.
    2. Vergne, Clémence, 2009. "Democracy, elections and allocation of public expenditures in developing countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 63-77, March.
    3. Causa, Orsetta & Cohen, Daniel & Soto, Marcelo, 2006. "Lucas and Anti-Lucas Paradoxes," CEPR Discussion Papers 6013, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Khemani, Stuti, 2004. "Political cycles in a developing economy: effect of elections in the Indian States," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 125-154, February.
    5. Castañeda Dower, Paul & Pfutze, Tobias, 2015. "Vote suppression and insecure property rights," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 1-19.
    6. Keefer, Philip & Khemani, Stuti, 2003. "Democracy, public expenditures, and the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3164, The World Bank.

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