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Voracity and Growth Reconsidered

  • Strulik, Holger

This article investigates economic performance when enforceable property rights are missing and subsistence needs matter. It shows that if per capita income is sufficiently high, a windfall gain in productivity triggers behavior that leads to higher growth (the normal reaction). The same shock can produce voracious behavior and lower growth when faced by poor economic agents, in particular when their productivity is low and their society is largely fractionalized. This leads to a re-assessment of the voracity effect. Economic and social performance depends no longer on character traits (the assumed curvature of the utility function) as assumed in the earlier literature. Instead, the initial degree of development, the state of technology, and the make up of society are decisive. An extension towards a two-sector economy shows that conditions for an active informal sector of low productivity are much less restrictive than originally thought.

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics in its series Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Frankfurt a.M. 2009 with number 36.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec09:36
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  1. Ben-David, Dan, 1997. "Convergence Clubs and Subsistence Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 1745, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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. Steger, Thomas M., 2000. "Economic growth with subsistence consumption," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 343-361, August.
  4. Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Strulik, Holger, 2007. "A Bioeconomic Foundation of the Malthusian Equilibrium: Body Size and Population Size in the Long-Run," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-373, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  5. Ngo Long & Gerhard Sorger, 2006. "Insecure property rights and growth: the role of appropriation costs, wealth effects, and heterogeneity," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 513-529, 08.
  6. Mino, Kazuo, 2006. "Voracity vs. scale effect in a growing economy without secure property rights," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 278-284, November.
  7. Masao Ogaki & Jonathan David Ostry & Carmen Reinhart, 1995. "Saving Behavior in Low and Middle-Income Developing Countries; A Comparison," IMF Working Papers 95/3, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
  9. Philip R. Lane & Aaron Tornell, 1999. "The Voracity Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 22-46, March.
  10. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
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