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Policy Evaluation and Empirical Growth Research

In: Economic Growth: Sources, Trends, and Cycles

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  • Steven Durlauf

    (National Bureau of Economic Research)

Abstract

This paper provides a critique of the use of growth regressions to derive policy implications. The author challenges the conventional interpretation of empirical results, arguing that current econometric practice has yielded a body of evidence that is not policy relevant. Extending his own previous work, the author raises two issues of critical importance for policy purposes. First, policy recommendations arising from growth regressions are usually based on the statistical significance of some regression coefficients, which does not necessarily constitute a valid evaluation of alternative policy trajectories. Moreover, the statistical significance of a parameter does not provide information on the relative merit of it for policymakers’ objectives. Second, growth regressions as conventionally constructed do not provide credible evidence of economic structure. Consequently, policymakers are unable to make better decisions based only on regression results. The author proposes an alternative approach to the interpretation of growth regression based on Bayesian averaging techniques, which allow the weighing of different growth determinants relative to the pay-off function of the policymaker and in the context of model uncertainty (because the modeler does not know what growth determinants must be included in a model or what forms of country-level heterogeneity need to be accounted for in the model).

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Bibliographic Info

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This chapter was published in: Norman Loayza & Raimundo Soto & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series Editor) (ed.) Economic Growth: Sources, Trends, and Cycles, , chapter 6, pages 163-190, 2002.

This item is provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series with number v06c06pp163-190.

Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchsb:v06c06pp163-190

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References

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  1. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  2. Robert J. Barro, 2013. "Inflation and Economic Growth," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(1), pages 121-144, May.
  3. Carmen Fernandez & E Ley & Mark F J Steel, 2004. "Benchmark priors for Bayesian models averaging," ESE Discussion Papers 66, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  4. Galor, Oded, 1996. "Convergence? Inferences from Theoretical Models," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 1056-69, July.
  5. Chamberlain, Gary, 2000. "Econometrics and decision theory," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 255-283, April.
  6. Easterly, William, 1993. "How much do distortions affect growth?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 187-212, November.
  7. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  8. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  9. Durlauf, Steven N & Johnson, Paul A, 1995. "Multiple Regimes and Cross-Country Growth Behaviour," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(4), pages 365-84, Oct.-Dec..
  10. Desdoigts, Alain, 1999. " Patterns of Economic Development and the Formation of Clubs," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 305-30, September.
  11. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
  12. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  13. Quah, Danny T., 1996. "Empirics for economic growth and convergence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1353-1375, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Bodea, Cristina & Elbadawi, Ibrahim A., 2008. "Political violence and economic growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4692, The World Bank.

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