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Reopening the Convergence Debate: A New Look at Cross-Country Growth Empirics


  • Caselli, Francesco
  • Esquivel, Gerardo
  • Lefort, Fernando


There are two sources of inconsistency in existing cross-country empirical work on growth: correlated individual effects and endogenous explanatory variables. We estimate a variety of cross-country growth regressions using a generalized method of moments estimator that eliminates both problems. In one application, we find that per capita incomes converge to their steady-state levels at a rate of approximately 10 percent per year. This result stands in sharp contrast to the current consensus, which places the convergence rate at 2 percent. We discuss the theoretical implications of this finding. In another application, we perform a test of the Solow model. Again, contrary to prior results, we reject both the standard and the augmented version of the model. Copyright 1996 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Caselli, Francesco & Esquivel, Gerardo & Lefort, Fernando, 1996. "Reopening the Convergence Debate: A New Look at Cross-Country Growth Empirics," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 363-389, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:1:y:1996:i:3:p:363-89

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stokey, Nancy L & Rebelo, Sergio, 1995. "Growth Effects of Flat-Rate Taxes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 519-550, June.
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    4. Steven J. Davis, 1992. "Cross-Country Patterns of Change in Relative Wages," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 239-300 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1993. "International comparisons of educational attainment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 363-394, December.
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    7. Galor, Oded & Weil, David N, 1996. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 374-387, June.
    8. Griliches, Zvi, 1969. "Capital-Skill Complementarity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(4), pages 465-468, November.
    9. Haley, William J, 1976. "Estimation of the Earnings Profile from Optimal Human Capital Accumulation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(6), pages 1223-1238, November.
    10. Robert Summers & Alan Heston, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950–1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-368.
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