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Equipment Investment and Economic Growth

  • De Long, J Bradford
  • Summers, Lawrence H

Using data from the United Nations Comparison Project and the Penn World Table, we find that machinery and equipment investment has a strong association with growth: over 1960-85 each extra percent of GDP invested in equipment is associated with an increase in GDP growth of one third of a percentage point per year. This is a much stronger association than found between growth and any of the other components of investment. A variety of considerations suggest that this association is causal, that higher equipment investment drives faster growth, and that the social return to equipment investment in well-functioning market economies is on the order of 30 percent per year. Copyright 1991, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 106 (1991)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 445-502

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:106:y:1991:i:2:p:445-502
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  1. Anne O. Krueger, 1990. "Government Failures in Development," NBER Working Papers 3340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Moses Abramovitz, 1956. "Resource and Output Trends in the United States Since 1870," NBER Chapters, in: Resource and Output Trends in the United States Since 1870, pages 1-23 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jorgenson, Dale W, 1988. "Productivity and Postwar U.S. Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 23-41, Fall.
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  5. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
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  7. David, Paul A., 1977. "Invention and accumulation in america's economic growth: A nineteenth-century parable," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 179-228, January.
  8. Moses Abramovitz, 1956. "Resource and Output Trends in the United States Since 1870," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abra56-1.
  9. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  10. Abramovitz, Moses, 1986. "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 385-406, June.
  11. Dale W. Jorgenson, 1991. "Productivity and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters, in: Fifty Years of Economic Measurement: The Jubilee of the Conference on Research in Income and Wealth, pages 19-118 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Romer, Paul M., 1989. "What determines the rate of growth and technological change?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 279, The World Bank.
  13. Abramovitz, Moses & David, Paul A, 1973. "Reinterpreting Economic Growth: Parables and Realities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 428-39, May.
  14. Summers, Robert & Heston, Alan, 1988. "A New Set of International Comparisons of Real Product and Price Levels Estimates for 130 Countries, 1950-1985," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(1), pages 1-25, March.
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