In Search of the Holy Grail: Policy Convergence, Experimentation and Economic Performance
Tufts University - Department of Economics
Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
CEPR Discussion Paper No. 3525
We consider a model of policy choice in which appropriate policies depend on a country's own circumstances, but the presence of a successful leader generates an informational externality and results in too little 'policy experimentation'. Corrupt governments are reined in while honest governments are disciplined inefficiently. Our model yields distinct predictions about the patterns of policy imitation, corruption, and economic performance as a function of a country's location vis-a-vis successful leaders. In particular, it predicts a U-shaped pattern in economic performance as we move away from the leader in the relevant space of characteristics: close neighbors should do very well, distant countries moderately well on average with considerable variance, and intermediate countries worst of all. An empirical test with the experience of post-socialist countries provides supportive results.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 53
Keywords: Institutions, economic growth, convergence
JEL Classification: O10, O40
Date posted: October 11, 2002
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