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On the relevance of freedom and entitlement in development : new empirical evidence (1975-2007)

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  • Chauffour, Jean-Pierre

Abstract

Reviewing the economic performance -- good and bad -- of more than 100 countries over the past 30 years, this paper finds new empirical evidence supporting the idea that economic freedom and civil and political liberties are the root causes of why some countries achieve and sustain better economic outcomes. For instance, a one unit change in the initial level of economic freedom between two countries (on a scale of 1 to 10) is associated with an almost 1 percentage point differential in their average long-run economic growth rates. In the case of civil and political liberties, the long-term effect is also positive and significant with a differential of 0.3 percentage point. In addition to the initial conditions, the expansion of freedom conditions over time (economic, civil, and political) also positively influences long-run economic growth. In contrast, no evidence was found that the initial level of entitlement rights or their change over time had any significant effects on long-term per capita income, except for a negative effect in some specifications of the model. These results tend to support earlier findings that beyond core functions of government responsibility -- including the protection of liberty itself -- the expansion of the state to provide for various entitlements, including so-called economic, social, and cultural rights, may not make people richer in the long run and may even make them poorer.

Suggested Citation

  • Chauffour, Jean-Pierre, 2011. "On the relevance of freedom and entitlement in development : new empirical evidence (1975-2007)," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5660, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5660
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 131-165, June.
    2. Sugata Ghosh & Andros Gregoriou, 2006. "On the Composition of Government Spending, Optimal Fiscal Policy, and Endogenous Growth: Theory and Evidence," Economics and Finance Discussion Papers 06-19, Economics and Finance Section, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University.
    3. Benos, Nikos, 2009. "Fiscal policy and economic growth: empirical evidence from EU countries," MPRA Paper 19174, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Berggren, Niclas, 2003. "The Benefits of Economic Freedom: A Survey," Ratio Working Papers 4, The Ratio Institute.
    5. Lundstrom, Susanna, 2005. "The effect of democracy on different categories of economic freedom," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 967-980, December.
    6. Lorenz Blume & Stefan Voigt, 2007. "The Economic Effects of Human Rights," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 509-538, November.
    7. Agell, Jonas & Ohlsson, Henry & Thoursie, Peter Skogman, 2006. "Growth effects of government expenditure and taxation in rich countries: A comment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 211-218, January.
    8. Grossman, Philip J, 1990. "Government and Growth: Cross-sectional Evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 65(3), pages 217-227, June.
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