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The Role of Efficiency as an Explanation of International Income Differences

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  • Richard Kneller
  • Philip Andrew Stevens

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Abstract

Why are some countries richer than others? If, as some recent work has suggested, the answer lies not in differences in physical and human capital accumulation but in differences in productivity, this merely shifts the question to: why are some countries more productive than others? This paper investigates differences in productive efficiency as an explanation of international income difference using stochastic frontier analysis. We find that human capital and geography are important in explaining differences in productive inefficiency in a panel of 82 countries over the period 1960-87. We also investigate the effects of government policy, as measured by its fiscal stance, on a subset of OECD countries over a shorter period. We find that increases in the budget surplus are associated with lower levels of productive efficiency in the economy as a whole.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Institute of Economic and Social Research in its series NIESR Discussion Papers with number 205.

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Date of creation: Dec 2002
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Handle: RePEc:nsr:niesrd:205

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Cited by:
  1. Fofack, Hippolyte, 2008. "Technology trap and poverty trap in Sub-Saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4582, The World Bank.
  2. Andrew Tiffin, 2006. "Ukraine: The Cost of Weak Institutions," IMF Working Papers 06/167, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Fofack, Hippolyte, 2009. "Determinants of globalization and growth prospects for Sub-Saharan African countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5019, The World Bank.
  4. Fabling, Richard & Grimes, Arthur & Stevens, Philip, 2008. "A Comparison of Qualitative and Quantitative Firm Performance Measures," Occasional Papers 08/4, Ministry of Economic Development, New Zealand.
  5. Krishna G. Iyer & Alicia N. Rambaldi & Kam Ki Tang, 2008. "Efficiency externalities of trade and alternative forms of foreign investment in OECD countries," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(6), pages 749-766.
  6. Boyle, Gerry & McQuinn, Kieran, 2004. "Why do some countries produce so much more output per worker than others? - A note," Research Technical Papers 9/RT/04, Central Bank of Ireland.

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