Journal of Economic Literature
Vol. 35, No. 3, September 1997

Contents

The Impact of Economics on Contemporary Political Science
Gary J. Miller      1173

Famines and Economics
Martin Ravallion      1205

Goods Prices and Exchange Rates: What Have We Learned?
Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg and Michael M. Knetter      1243

The Swedish Experiment
Assar Lindbeck      1273

Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues
Pranab Bardhan      1320

Teaching Economics to Undergraduates
William E. Becker      1347

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The Impact of Economics on Contemporary Political Science
Gary J. Miller

Early economic models assumed that the maximizing behavior of individual actors was the primary determinant of political as well as market outcomes. This approach revolved several long-standing puzzles in political science, but created new anomalies in place of the old: why do citizens vote in large elections? Why are democratic legislatures as stable as they are? Partly in response to these anomalies, the emphasis has shifted from the study of self-interested choice, to the study of constraints on self-interested choice. This has opened new doors for the study of bureaucracies, parties, and other fundamental political institutions.

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Famines and Economics
Martin Ravallion

Famines have happened with and without crop failures or wars. But they invariably entail a collapse in the command over food of vulnerable subgroups within a society, whether through loss of endowment or a contraction in the amount of food that can be acquired from given endowments. Thus economic analysis can help understand famines, viewed as tragic aperiodic magnifications of normal market and governmental failures. Recent literature in economics and other fields has reflected this change in the conceptualization of famines, and it has come with policy implications for famine relieve and prevention.

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Goods Prices and Exchange Rates: What Have We Learned?
Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg and Michael M. Knetter

Import prices typically change by a smaller proportion than the exchange rate between the exporting and importing country. Recent research indicates that common-currency relative prices for similar goods exported to different markets are highly correlated with exchange rates between those markets. This evidence suggests that incomplete pass-through is a consequence of third-degree price discrimination. While distance matters for market segmentation, borders have independent effects. The source of the border effect has not been clearly identified. Furthermore, there is little evidence yet to suggest substantial market power is implied by the observed price discrimination.

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The Swedish Experiment
Assar Lindbeck

The deterioration of the economic performance in Sweden from about 1970 was to some extent the result of a number of exogenous shocks and "unnecessary" policy mistakes. It was, however, also related to basic changes in the economic and social system in Sweden in the late 1960s and early 1970, when government spending, taxes, and regulations started to expand dramatically. It is also argued in the paper that problematic political, economic, and social mechanisms had become embedded in the long-term dynamics of the system itself. These various experiences are the background for recent reforms and retreats of "the Swedish experiment."

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Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues
Pranab Bardhan

In this paper we start with a discussion of some of the different denotations of the problem of corruption. We then consider the ways in which the damaging consequences of corruption operate in a developing economy, while not ignoring its possible redeeming features in some cases. We pursue the question of why corruption is perceptibly so different in different societies and also persistent. Finally, we examine the feasible policy issues that arise in this context.

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Teaching Economics to Undergraduates
William E. Becker

Economists are singled out for their lack of interest in teaching. Yet, in teaching economics to undergraduates, the work of some economists is innovative and recognized, although not necessarily appreciated by those who are missing the current realities in higher education. This article presents evidence on the teaching and learning of economics at the undergraduate level. It describes what economists are doing in classrooms, and discusses the consequences of their failure to do more. It reviews what research offers teachers and considers alternative measures of educational outputs. Consideration is given to nonlecture teaching methods that are more prevalent in other disciplines.

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