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Is there an optimal level of political competition in terms of economic growth? Evidence from Italy

Maria Rosaria Alfano () and Anna Laura Baraldi ()

European Journal of Law and Economics, 2015, vol. 39, issue 2, 263-285

Abstract: As competition in the economic market yields consumer benefits, political competition is supposed to be welfare-enhancing for citizens in terms promoting competence and good behaviour. Recent literature also underlines its costs, opening the possibility of a non-biunivocal way in which the degree of political competition affects economic growth. The parallel between economic and political competition allows the use of the normalized Herfindahl index as a measure of competition among political parties. Within the Italian regional elections scenario from 1980 to 2008, our findings confirm an inverted-U relationship between the degree of political competition and the regional growth rate. An “optimal” level of political competition allows for a reduction in the trade-off between political accountability and government instability. Moreover, political competition can be used as a “tool” for the growth enhancement of political corruption. However, the question posed by the findings is how to drive political competition to its optimal value. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2015

Keywords: Economic growth; Political competition; Herfindahl index; O43; H11; P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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DOI: 10.1007/s10657-012-9340-5

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