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The paper discusses the economic effects of misallocation of public expenditures in favor of private goods rather than public goods. It first lays out certain key hypotheses regarding the consequences of the apparent public sector allocation inefficiency and the factors that explain this phenomenon. It then discusses existing empirical evidence that lends at least indirect support to these hypotheses. Finally, it presents new empirical evidence for the rural sector in Latin America which documents the extent of the misallocation of public expenditures, its consequences for agricultural growth and rural poverty, and the role of certain key politico-institutional factors in explaining the misallocation.