Policy Uncertainty and Private Investment in Developing Countries

26 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2004 Last revised: 13 Sep 2010

See all articles by Dani Rodrik

Dani Rodrik

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: June 1989

Abstract

A resurgence in private investment is a necessary ingredient of a sustainable recovery in heavily-indebted developing countries. Policy reforms in these countries involve a serious dilemma, especially when they include structural and microeconomic features. On the one hand, entrepreneurs, workers, and farmers must respond to the signals generated by the reform for the new policies to be successful. On the other hand, rational behavior by the private sector calls for withholding investment until much of the residual uncertainty regarding the eventual success of the reform is eliminated. This paper shows that even moderate amounts of policy uncertainty can act as a hefty tax on investment, and that otherwise sensible reforms may prove damaging if they induce doubts as to their permanence. A simple model is developed to link policy uncertainty to the private investment response.

Suggested Citation

Rodrik, Dani, Policy Uncertainty and Private Investment in Developing Countries (June 1989). NBER Working Paper No. w2999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=250341

Dani Rodrik (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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