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Special Interest Groups and Growth: A Meta-Analysis of Mancur Olsons Theory

Theresa Hager
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Theresa Hager: Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria

No 116, ICAE Working Papers from Johannes Kepler University, Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy

Abstract: This thesis treats the theory of Mancur Olson on the relationship between interest groups and growth and the empirical analyses regarding its validation. Mancur Olson has developed a comprehensive theory of economic growth that grounds on his 1965 published book The Logic of Collective Action. Herein the mechanisms and dynamics of interest groups and collective action are elaborated and discussed. The subsequent complex theory of economic growth presented in The Rise and Decline of Nations (1982) shows the impact of the prevailing constellation of interest groups in a country on its economic prospects. The book lead to widespread discourse and criticism and its conclusions were analyzed multiple times with econometric methods. However, the research presents divergent results as to whether Olson's theory can be validated or not. The thesis gives an overview of Olson’s theories and then discusses the criticism raised by other authors and own considerations. A meta-regression analysis is performed to synthesize the diverging results of various studies. Meta-regression analysis is a relatively new concept in economics. Its objective is to look at econometric evidence from a meta perspective and to use regression tools to find out if study characteristics exert an influence on the findings. It filters out the biases and allows a more objective view. The analysis is carried out on two levels: on the macro level using study characteristics and descriptive statistics and on the micro level using single regression results in a binary logistics model. The results allow a more differentiated look on Olson's theory and its tests. It is suggested that the theory is too comprehensive and complex to be covered by econometric methods. Therefore, any proper testing should include an examination of convoluting institutional aspects.

Keywords: special interest-groups; Olson; meta-analysis; institutional economics; growth (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 68 pages
Date: 2020-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hpe
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