Determinants of Economic Growth in a Panel of Countries
Growth rates vary enormously across countries over long periods of time. The reason for these variations is a central issue for economic policy, and crosscountry empirical work on this topic has been popular since the early 1990s. The findings from cross-country panel regressions show that the differences in per capita growth rates relate systematically to a set of quantifiable explanatory variables. One effect is a conditional convergence term-the growth rate rises when the initial level of real per capita GDP is low relative to the starting amount of human capital in the forms of educational attainment and health and for given values of other variables that reflect policies, institutions, and national characteristics. For given per capita GDP and human capital, growth depends positively on the rule of law and the investment ratio and negatively on the fertility rate, the ratio of government consumption to GDP, and the inflation rate. Growth increases with favorable movements in the terms of trade and with increased international openness, but the latter effect is surprisingly weak.
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