The Quality of Government

Posted: 18 May 1999

See all articles by Rafael La Porta

Rafael La Porta

Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Florencio Lopez de Silanes

SKEMA Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Andrei Shleifer

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Robert W. Vishny

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Abstract

We investigate empirically the determinants of the quality of governments in a large cross-section of countries. We assess government performance using measures of government intervention, public sector efficiency, public good provision, size of government, and political freedom. We find that countries that are poor, close to the equator, ethnolinguistically heterogeneous, use French or socialist laws, or have high proportions of Catholics or Muslims exhibit inferior government performance. We also find that the larger governments tend to be the better performing ones. The importance of historical factors in explaining the variation in government performance across countries sheds light on the economic, political, and cultural theories of institutions.

JEL Classification: H19

Suggested Citation

La Porta, Rafael and Lopez de Silanes, Florencio and Shleifer, Andrei and Vishny, Robert W., The Quality of Government. Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Vol. 15, No. 1, Spring 1999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=162771

Rafael La Porta

Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Florencio Lopez de Silanes

SKEMA Business School ( email )

Avenue Willy Brandt, Euralille
Lille, 59777
France

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Andrei Shleifer (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-5046 (Phone)
617-496-1708 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/~ashleife/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Robert W. Vishny

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
312-702-2522 (Phone)
312-702-0118 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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