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Some Properties of a Small Open Economy Version of the Solow-Swan Growth Model


  • Janice Gaffney

    (Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Adelaide)

  • Colin Rogers

    () (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)


In this paper we examine some properties of the Benge and Wells (B-W) (1998a,b) formulation of a small open economy version of the Solow-Swan growth model. We suggest a simple method for classifying economies as capital importers or exporters (net debtors or creditors) in the steady state and highlight the simple mathematical structure of the B-W formulation. Given the small open economy assumption the fundamental dynamic equation for wealth is a simple first order linear differential equation so closed form solutions are immediate. That greatly simplifies the analysis of the transitional dynamics. In addition we show that the transitional dynamics of the B-W formulation depends on the specification of saving as a function of current income. In that formulation the speed of adjustment coefficient is a function of both the saving ratio and the world real rate of interest. A debt trap is possible for some parameter values. When saving is specified as a function of permanent income (steady state income) the speed of adjustment coefficient reverts to a constant determined by the exogenous growth rate in effective labour. The threat of a debt trap disappears.

Suggested Citation

  • Janice Gaffney & Colin Rogers, 1999. "Some Properties of a Small Open Economy Version of the Solow-Swan Growth Model," School of Economics Working Papers 1999-09, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:adl:wpaper:1999-09

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    More about this item


    Solow-Swan growth model; small open economy;

    JEL classification:

    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models


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