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Macroeconomic Convergence: International Transmission of Growth and Technical Progress

In: International Economic Transactions: Issues in Measurement and Empirical Research

  • John F. Helliwell
  • Alan Chung

This paper uses data for nineteen industrial countries over the period 1960-1985 to examine the evidence for international convergence of technical progress. Several models of convergence, including a model in which convergence is affected by changes in a country's openness to trade, are evaluated against competing alternatives. We also assess the extent to which convergence depends on some key measurement issues, including the use of purchasing power parities to compare real output in different countries, the use of different capital stocks in aggregate production functions, and alternative ways of representing embodied or disembodied technical progress. The various models of technical progress are assessed by non-nested tests of both the estimated output equations, using the factor utilization model, and their related factor demand equations. The results show significant evidence of international convergence in the rates of growth of labour efficiency, and some evidence that convergence is faster for countries that have been increasing their openness to international trade. A more general model of output determination, encompassing variations in factor utilization as well as tho autocorrelated technology shocks used in real business cycle models, was found to be preferred over more restricted alternatives.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Peter Hooper & J. David Richardson, 1991. "International Economic Transactions: Issues in Measurement and Empirical Research," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number hoop91-1, September.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 8436.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:8436
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    1. Helliwell, John F. & Chung, Alan, 1986. "Aggregate output with variable rates of utilization of employed factors," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1-2), pages 285-310.
    2. Plosser, C.I., 1989. "Understanding Real Business Cycles," Papers 89-03, Rochester, Business - General.
    3. Russell Davidson & James G. MacKinnon, 1980. "Several Tests for Model Specification in the Presence of Alternative Hypotheses," Working Papers 378, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    4. Dollar, David & Wolff, Edward N, 1988. "Convergence of Industry Labor Productivity among Advanced Economies, 1963-1982," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(4), pages 549-58, November.
    5. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
    6. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
    7. Nordhaus, William D., 1982. "Economic policy in the face of declining productivity growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 131-157.
    8. Maddison, Angus, 1987. "Growth and Slowdown in Advanced Capitalist Economies: Techniques of Quantitative Assessment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 649-98, June.
    9. Barro, Robert J, 1978. "Unanticipated Money, Output, and the Price Level in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(4), pages 549-80, August.
    10. Baumol, William J & Wolff, Edward N, 1988. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1155-59, December.
    11. John F. Helliwell, 1986. "Supply-Side Macroeconomics," NBER Working Papers 1995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Long, John B, Jr & Plosser, Charles I, 1983. "Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 39-69, February.
    13. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1989. "Growth and Welfare in A Small Open Economy," NBER Working Papers 2970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
    15. Russell Davidson & James G. MacKinnon, 1981. "Tests for Model Specification in the Presence of Alternative Hypotheses: Some Further Results," Working Papers 430, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    16. Baumol, William J, 1986. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: What the Long-run Data Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1072-85, December.
    17. John F. Helliwell & Peter Sturm & Gerard Salou, 1984. "International Comparison of the Sources of Productivity Slowdown 1973 1982," NBER Working Papers 1465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
    19. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1973. "Some International Evidence on Output-Inflation Tradeoffs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 326-34, June.
    20. Lindbeck, Assar, 1983. "The Recent Slowdowns of Productivity Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(369), pages 13-34, March.
    21. 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.
    22. Godfrey, Leslie G, 1983. "Testing Non-Nested Models after Estimation by Instrumental Variables or Least Squares," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(2), pages 355-65, March.
    23. Mizon, Grayham E & Richard, Jean-Francois, 1986. "The Encompassing Principle and Its Application to Testing Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 657-78, May.
    24. Heston, Alan & Summers, Robert, 1988. "What We Have Learned about Prices and Quantities from International Comparisons: 1987," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 467-73, May.
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