Volatile States

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Why do American state economies grow at such vastly different rates and manifest such wide differences in living standards? Volatile States identifies the sources of rising living standards by examining the recent economic and fiscal history of the American states. With new insights about the factors that contribute to state economic success, the book departs from traditional analyses of economic performance in its emphasis on the role of volatility. Volatile States identifies institutions and policies that are key determinants of economic success and illustrates the considerable promise of a mean-variance criterion for assessing state economic performance. The mean-variance perspective amends applications of growth models that rely on the mobility of productive factors keyed to income levels alone. Simply measuring the level of growth in state economies reveals an incomplete and perhaps distorted picture of performance. Taking the volatility of state economies explicitly into account refines the whole notion of "economic success." This book is essential reading for economists, political scientists, and policy-makers who routinely confront questions about the consequences of alternative institutional arrangements and economic policy choices. W. Mark Crain is Professor of Economics and Research Associate, James M. Buchanan Center for Political Economy, George Mason University.

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