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Efficient Public Good Provision in Networks : Revisiting the Lindahl Solution
The provision of public goods in developing countries is a central challenge. This paper studies a model where each agent?s effort provides heterogeneous benefits to the others, inducing a network of opportunities for favor-trading. We focus on a classical efficient benchmark ? the Lindahl solution ? that can be derived from a bargaining game. Does the optimistic assumption that agents use an efficient mechanism (rather than succumbing to the tragedy of the commons) imply incentives for efficient investment in the technology that is used to produce the public goods? To show that the answer is ...
Institutions Do Not Rule: Reassessing the Driving Forces of Economic Development
The pursuit to uncover the driving forces behind cross-country income gaps has divided economists into two major camps: One emphasizes institutions, while the other stresses non-institutional forces such as geography. Each school of thought has its own theoretical foundation and empirical support, but they share an implicit hypothesis?the forces driving economic development remain the same regardless of a country?s stage of development. Such hypothesis implies a theory that the process of development in human history is a continuous improvement in income levels, driven by the same forces, and ...
The Visible Hand: The Role of Government in China’s Long-Awaited Industrial Revolution
China is undergoing its long-awaited industrial revolution. There is no shortage of commentary and opinion on this dramatic period, but few have attempted to provide a coherent, in-depth, political economic framework that explains the fundamental mechanisms behind China?s rapid industrialization. This article reviews the New Stage Theory of economic development put forth by Wen (2016a). It illuminates the critical sequence of developmental stages since the reforms enacted by Deng Xiaoping in 1978: namely, small-scale commercialized agricultural production, proto-industrialization in the ...
State Capacity and Public Goods: Institutional Change, Human Capital, and Growth in Early Modern Germany
What are the origins and consequences of the state as a provider of public goods? We study legal reforms that established mass public education and increased state capacity in German cities during the 1500s. These fundamental changes in public goods provision occurred where ideological competition during the Protestant Reformation interacted with popular politics at the local level. We document that cities that formalized public goods provision in the 1500s began differentially producing and attracting upper tail human capital and grew to be significantly larger in the long-run. We study ...