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Evaluating Explanations for Stagnation

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  • Elizabeth M. Caucutt

    (University of Western Ontario)

  • Krishna B. Kumar

    (USC Marshall School of Business)

Abstract

In this paper, we evaluate four explanations for economic stagnation that have been proposed in the literature: coordination failures, ineffective mix of occupational choices, insufficient human capital accumulation, and politico-economic considerations. We calibrate models that embody these explanations in the context of the stagnant economies of sub-Saharan Africa. The methodology of calibration is ideally suited for this evaluation, given the paucity of high-quality data, the high degree of model nonlinearity, and the need for conducting counterfactual policy experiments. In addition to studying how closely and robustly these models capture the African situation, we examine the quantitative aspects of their policy implications. We find that calibrations that yield multiple equilibria -- one prosperity and the other stagnation -- are not particularly robust. This tempers optimism about the efficacy of one-shot or temporary development policies suggested by models with multiplicity. However, the calibrated models indicate that small policy interventions are sufficient to trigger development in stagnant economies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Development and Comp Systems with number 0409002.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 04 Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0409002

Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 46
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

Related research

Keywords: Coordination failure; Occupational choice; Human capital accumulation; Political economy; Economic Development; Calibration.;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Ahlin, Christian & Jiang, Neville, 2008. "Can micro-credit bring development?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 1-21, April.
  2. K Blackburn & G F Forgues-Puccio, 2004. "Distribution and Development in a Model of Misgovernance," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 42, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
  3. Christian Ahlin & Neville Jiang, 2005. "Can Micro-Credit Bring Development?," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 05019, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  4. Kraay, Aart & Raddatz, Claudio, 2005. "Poverty traps, aid, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3631, The World Bank.

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