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Macroeconomic Policies and Growth

In: Productivity and Growth

  • Palle Andersen

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

  • David Gruen

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

While economic theory is largely mute on the question of whether macroeconomic policies affect long-run growth, an examination of the experience of different countries over various periods and the policies they pursued, lends strong support to the idea that macro policies do play a role in the growth process. A macroeconomic policy framework conducive to growth can be characterised by five features: a low and predictable inflation rate; an appropriate real interest rate; a stable and sustainable fiscal policy; a competitive and predictable real exchange rate; and a balance of payments that is regarded as viable. Countries with these macroeconomic characteristics tend to grow faster than those without them, though there are many individual cases of both developing and developed countries suggesting that satisfying only some of these conditions does not sustain strong growth. It is also important to recognise that the direction of causation is somewhat ambiguous: while good macro outcomes should be conducive to growth, strong growth is also conducive to good macroeconomic outcomes. The paper presents a wide-ranging examination of both theoretical and empirical evidence on the many ways macroeconomic policies may influence economic growth. Given monetary policy’s crucial role in determining the inflation rate in the longer run, there is a particular emphasis on the relationship between inflation and growth. The following five broad conclusions are drawn. First, although growth models assign a major role to capital accumulation, there is little evidence that aggregate investment yields excess returns, and so special policy incentives to boost aggregate investment appear inappropriate. Second, countries with low national saving invest less and grow more slowly than they would if saving were higher. Ultimately, the extent to which a country can rely on foreign savings to fund domestic investment and growth depends on the rate of capital inflow the market accepts as sustai

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This chapter was published in: Palle Andersen & Jacqueline Dwyer & David Gruen (ed.) Productivity and Growth, Reserve Bank of Australia, pages , 1995.
This item is provided by Reserve Bank of Australia in its series RBA Annual Conference Volume with number acv1995-18.
Handle: RePEc:rba:rbaacv:acv1995-18
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