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Deciphering the Hindu growth epic

  • Peter E. Robertson

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a quantitative assessment of the factors contributing to India's growth acceleration since 1970, based on the neoclassical growth model. Design/methodology/approach – A feature of neoclassical growth models is that capital accumulation is induced by both productivity growth and increases in investment rates. The paper uses a growth decomposition method based on that of Robertson. The method reconstructs India's actual growth path exactly, then decomposes the growth using counterfactual simulations, holding investment rates constant and productivity growth constant. The role of human capital is also discussed. Findings – An increase in the productivity growth rate from 1970 accounts for 68per cent of India's post 1970s growth and the rise in the investment rate accounts for 30 per cent. Hence an upward trend in productivity growth has been more than twice as important as the doubling of the investment rate. A similar conclusion applies for the post 2000 era, where a rise in investment from 25 per cent to 37 per cent of GDP, only adds about 0.7 percentage points of growth to the 4.5 per cent annual growth rate over this period. Originality/value – The paper provides quantitative estimates of the role of investment and productivity to India's growth based on the neoclassical growth model. It thus improves upon existing growth accounting studies by allowing for the induced effect of productivity growth on capital accumulation. It also improves upon existing development accounting techniques that rely on steady state restrictions, and which would therefore be inappropriate for evaluating India's recent transitional growth.

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Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Indian Growth and Development Review.

Volume (Year): 5 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 51-69

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Handle: RePEc:eme:igdrpp:v:5:y:2012:i:1:p:51-69
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  1. Barry Bosworth & Susan M. Collins, 2007. "Accounting for Growth: Comparing China and India," NBER Working Papers 12943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Caselli, Francesco, 2005. "Accounting for Cross-Country Income Differences," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 679-741 Elsevier.
  3. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Peter E. Robertson, 2010. "Investment Led Growth In India: Hindu Fact or Mythology?," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 10-08, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  5. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian, 2004. "From "Hindu Growth" to Productivity Surge: The Mystery of the Indian Growth Transition," NBER Working Papers 10376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Hodrick, Robert J & Prescott, Edward C, 1997. "Postwar U.S. Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16, February.
  7. Edward C. Prescott, 1997. "Needed: a theory of total factor productivity," Staff Report 242, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Barry Bosworth & Susan M. Collins & Arvind Virmani, 2007. "Sources of Growth in the Indian Economy," NBER Working Papers 12901, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Panagariya, Arvind, 2008. "India: The Emerging Giant," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195315035, March.
  11. Charles R. Hulten & Sylaja Srinivasan, 1999. "Indian Manufacturing Industry: Elephant or Tiger? New Evidence on the Asian Miracle," NBER Working Papers 7441, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Athukorala, Prema-chandra & Sen, Kunal, 2001. "The Determinants of Private Saving in India," Departmental Working Papers 2001-12, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  13. Basu, Kaushik & Maertens, Annemie, 2007. "The Pattern and Causes of Economic Growth in India," Working Papers 07-08, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  14. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2010. "A New Data Set of Educational Attainment in the World, 1950-2010," NBER Working Papers 15902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Robertson, Peter E, 2000. "Diminished Returns? Growth and Investment in East Asia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 76(235), pages 343-53, December.
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