Corruption and the history of development economics

A few observations, based on some recent reading:

1. It is remarkable how little the topic is discussed in the mainstream literature before the 1990s.  Gunnar Myrdal to his credit does discuss it a bit in his Asian Drama.

2. I have seen more than a few articles suggesting Anne Krueger showed that rent-seeking accounted for 7.3 percent of Turkish gdp (in the 1960s).  That’s not what Krueger said.  Rather she showed that import licenses were equivalent to this value, and that this provided an upper bound for the amount of rent-seeking.

3. The real costs of rent-seeking and corruption are the “limits to technology transfer” argument of Parente and Prescott, not the standard rent-seeking box.  That paper alone could bring a Nobel Prize, and yet it’s hardly ever mentioned in assessments of Prescott.


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