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The Tragedy of the Commons and Economic Growth: Why Does Capital Flow from Poor to Rich Countries?

Aarón Tornell and Andrés Velasco
Journal of Political Economy
Vol. 100, No. 6, Centennial Issue (Dec., 1992), pp. 1208-1231
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2138831
Page Count: 24
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The Tragedy of the Commons and Economic Growth: Why Does Capital Flow from Poor to Rich Countries?
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Abstract

We analyze a differential game in which all interest groups have access to a common capital stock. We show that the introduction of a technology that has inferior productivity but enjoys private access may ameliorate the tragedy of the commons. We use this model to analyze capital flight: in many poor countries, property rights are not well defined; since "safe" bank accounts in rich countries (the inferior technology) are available to citizens of these countries, they engage in capital flight. We show that the occurrence of capital flight does not imply that opening the capital account reduces growth and welfare.

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