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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 10 No. 2 (Spring 1996)

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Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government: Big Bills Left on the Sidewalk: Why Some Nations Are Rich, and Others Poor

Article Citation

Olson, Mancur. 1996. "Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government: Big Bills Left on the Sidewalk: Why Some Nations Are Rich, and Others Poor." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 10(2): 3-24.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.10.2.3

Abstract

Some research presumes that, when rational parties bargain, nothing is left on the table, so that social outcomes are efficient and leave countries on the frontiers of their aggregate production functions. A study of differences in per capita incomes across countries shows that this cannot be the case. Countries' endowments of natural and human resources do not explain any significant part of the variation in incomes and the mobility of capital assures that it is impartially available to all countries. National differences in the quality of policies and institutions across countries mainly account for differences in per capita incomes.

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Authors

Olson, Mancur (U MD)

JEL Classifications

O10: Economic Development: General
J24: Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
O33: Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
O40: Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General

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