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The Principal Components of Growth in the Less Developed Countries


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  • Derek Headey


This paper re-examines the international evidence on the sources of growth in less developed countries (LDCs) using exploratory factor analysis (EFA). Although EFA was first used in the development context by Adelman and Morris (1967) it has rarely been used since, despite being ideally suited to a context in which a large number of latent factors have been hypothesized to determine growth, and in which an even greater number of imperfectly measured and multicollinear proxies have been used to measure these latent factors. This paper uses EFA to minimize these problems of omitted variables biases, multicollinearity and measurement error, by reducing a large array of hypothesized growth determinants into a parsimonious and non-collinear set of composite indices. The paper then provides theoretical interpretations of the derived indices, tests their statistical significance and quantitative importance in otherwise conventional growth regressions, and uses these results to reappraise the usefulness of cross-country empirics in deriving robust, policy-relevant knowledge of the principal components of growth in LDCs, including the so called 'economic miracles'. Copyright 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Kyklos.

Volume (Year): 61 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 568-598

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Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:61:y:2008:i:4:p:568-598

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Cited by:
  1. Headey, Derek D., 2013. "The global landscape of poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition, and its implications for agricultural development strategies:," IFPRI discussion papers 1303, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Mitra, Aniruddha & Bang, James T. & Wunnava, Phanindra V., 2011. "Financial Liberalization and the Brain Drain: A Panel Data Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 5953, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).


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