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The Political Economy of Institutions, Stability and Investment: a simultaneous equation approach in an emerging economy – the case of South Africa

19 September 2012
Publication Type: Working Paper

The modern theory of investment identities the importance of uncertainty to investment. A number of empirical studies have tested the theory on South African time series, employing political instability measures as proxies for uncertainty. This paper verifies that political instability measures are required in the formulation of the investment function for South Africa. It also establishes that there are distinct institutional factors that influence the uncertainty variable such as property rights and crime levels. We find that rising income and property rights lower political instability, and that rising crime levels are positively related to political instability. The inference is that political instability in South Africa may not represent uncertainty directly, since it is systematically related to a set of determinants. Instead, uncertainty would have to be understood as being related to a broader institutional nexus that in concert may generate uncertainty for investors.

Series title: Working Paper 015
1 November 2005
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