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Mr. Paul Streeten

The general view used to be that development proceeded through a number of stages, along a linear path. Aid contributed missing components and thereby speeded up economic growth. A more recent view is that the developed rich “under-develop” the poor, and that the international system is biased against their development efforts. The poor should, according to this view, insulate themselves from that system. This article examines the validity of these views. The author argues that to achieve balanced, self-reliant development, countries should frame selective policies that maximize the beneficial and minimize the harmful impact of the international system.

Mr. Shankha Chakraborty and Ms. Era Dabla-Norris

This paper examines the relationship between rent seeking and economic performance when governments cannot enforce property rights. With imperfect credit markets and a fixed cost to rent seeking, only wealthy agents choose to engage in it, as it allows them to protect their wealth from expropriation. Hence, the level of rent seeking and economic performance are determined by the initial distribution of income and wealth. When individuals also differ in their productivity, not all wealthy agents become rent seekers, and the social costs of rent seeking are typically lower. In both cases, multiple equilibria with different levels of rent seeking and production are possible.

Mr. Vito Tanzi

The sensitivity (i.e., elasticity and built-in flexibility) of the U. S. individual income tax to changes in national income is of great interest to researchers and policymakers. However, the direct measurement of this sensitivity—that is, the measurement obtained from time-series observations of the relevant variables—has always been difficult, and even at times impossible, because changes in the legal structure of the tax have been too frequent to provide enough observations that relate to the same legal structure to allow statistically significant coefficients to be determined. This was particularly true in the United States before 1954, when the rates were changed frequently; it has also been true since 1963, when important changes occurred in rates, personal exemptions, deductions, and other features. In contrast, during the period between 1954 and 1963, hardly any significant statutory changes occurred in the tax.