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Growth without governance

  • Kaufmann, Daniel
  • Kraay, Aart

It is well known that there is a strong positive correlation between per capita incomes and the quality of governance across countries. the authors propose an empirical strategy that allows separation of this correlation into (1) a strong positive causal effect running from better governance to higher per capita incomes, and, perhaps surprisingly at first, (2) a weak and even negative causal effect running in the opposite direction from per capita incomes to governance. The first result confirms existing evidence on the importance of good governance for economic development. The second result is new and suggests the absence of a"virtuous circle"in which higher incomes lead to further improvements in governance. This motivates the authors'choice of title,"Growth Without Governance."They document this evidence using a newly updated set of worldwide governance-indicators covering 175 countries for the period 2000-01, and use the results to interpret the relationship between incomes and governance focusing on the Latin America and Caribbean region-within a worldwide empirical context. Finally, the authors speculate about the potential importance of elite influence and state capture in accounting for the surprising negative effects of per capita incomes on governance, present some evidence on such capture in some Latin American countries, and suggest priorities for actions to improve governance when such pernicious elite influence shapes public policy.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2928.

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Date of creation: 30 Nov 2002
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2928
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  1. Johnson, Simon & Boone, Peter & Breach, Alasdair & Friedman, Eric, 2000. "Corporate governance in the Asian financial crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 141-186.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Goldberger, Arthur S, 1972. "Maximum-Likelihood Estimation of Regressions Containing Unobservable Independent Variables," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(1), pages 1-15, February.
  4. Rodrik, Dani, 1998. "Where Did all the Growth Go? External Shocks, Social Conflict and Growth Collapses," CEPR Discussion Papers 1789, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2002. "Tropics, Germs, and Crops: How Endowments Influence Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 9106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
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