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Convergence by Parts


  • Feyrer James D

    () (Dartmouth College)


This paper investigates the empirical validity of different classes of 'development trap' models of economic growth. Quah (1993) finds that the cross country distribution of per capita income is moving toward a twin peaked distribution. This finding has supported and encouraged a large theoretical literature on development traps that produce twin peaks through physical and human capital accumulation. Contrary to these models, physical and human capital are found to be moving toward single peaked distributions. The productivity residual is moving toward a twin peaked distribution that mirrors that of per capita income. Quah's result appears to be driven by productivity differences rather than factor accumulation. The importance of productivity is consistent with cross sectional results by Klenow & Rodriguez-Clare (1997) and Hall & Jones (1999). Kremer, Onatski & Stock (2001) and Jones (1997) have questioned the robustness of the lower peak in output. This paper shows that the productivity residual has a more prominent and more robust lower peak than output. A further examination suggests that dynamic interaction between human capital accumulation and productivity may act in the long run to eliminate the low peak in productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Feyrer James D, 2008. "Convergence by Parts," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-35, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:8:y:2008:i:1:n:19

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    2. Susanto Basu & David N. Weil, 1998. "Appropriate Technology and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1025-1054.
    3. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
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