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Learning Dynamics and Support for Economic Reforms: Why Good News Can Be Bad

Sweder van Wijnbergen () and Tim Willems

World Bank Economic Review, 2016, vol. 30, issue 1, 1-23

Abstract: Support for economic reforms has often shown puzzling dynamics: many reforms that began successfully lost public support. We show that learning dynamics can rationalize this paradox because the process of revealing reform outcomes is an example of sampling without replacement. We show that this concept challenges the conventional wisdom that one should begin by revealing reform winners. It may also lead to situations in which reforms that enjoy both ex ante and ex post majority support will still not come to completion. We use our framework to explain why gradual reforms worked well in China (where successes in Special Economic Zones facilitated further reform), whereas this was much less the case for Latin American and Central and Eastern European countries.

Keywords: D72; D83; P21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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Working Paper: Learning dynamics and support for economic reforms: why good news can be bad (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: Learning Dynamics and the Support for Economic Reforms: Why Good News can be Bad (2012) Downloads
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