IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Convergence across countries and regions: theory and empirics

  • Angel de la Fuente


This paper surveys the recent literature on convergence across countries and regions. I discuss the main convergence and divergence mechanisms identified in the literature and develop a simple model that illustrates their implications for income dynamics. I then review the existing empirical evidence and discuss its theoretical implications. Early optimism concerning the ability of a human capital-augmented neoclassical model to explain productivity differences across economies has been questioned on the basis of more recent contributions that make use of panel data techniques and obtain theoretically implausible results. Some recent research in this area tries to reconcile these findings with sensible theoretical models by exploring the role of alternative convergence mechanisms and the possible shortcomings of panel data techniques for convergence analysis.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 555.02.

in new window

Length: 40
Date of creation: 20 Nov 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:555.02
Contact details of provider: Postal: 08193, Bellaterra, Barcelona
Phone: 34 93 592 1203
Fax: +34 93 542-1223
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1995. "The Growth of Nations," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1732, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Sala-i-Martin, Xavier X., 1996. "Regional cohesion: Evidence and theories of regional growth and convergence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1325-1352, June.
  3. Frank R. Lichtenberg, 1992. "R&D Investment and International Productivity Differences," NBER Working Papers 4161, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  5. Barro, R.J. & Sala-I-Martin, X., 1991. "Convergence Across States and Regions," Papers 629, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  6. Edward C. Prescott, 1997. "Needed: a theory of total factor productivity," Staff Report 242, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  8. Nonneman, Walter & Vanhoudt, Patrick, 1996. "A Further Augmentation of the Solow Model and the Empirics of Economic Growth for OECD Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 943-53, August.
  9. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Coe, D.T. & Helpman, E., 1993. "International R&D Spillovers," Papers 5-93, Tel Aviv.
  11. Damien NEVEN & Claudine GOUYETTE, 1993. "Regional Convergence in the European Comunity," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9311, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  12. Hamilton, James D. & Monteagudo, Josefina, 1998. "The augmented Solow model and the productivity slowdown," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 495-509, October.
  13. Angel de la Fuente & Rafael Doménech, 2006. "Human Capital in Growth Regressions: How Much Difference Does Data Quality Make?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 1-36, 03.
  14. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment Updates and Implications," NBER Working Papers 7911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong Wha, 1996. "International Measures of Schooling Years and Schooling Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 218-23, May.
  16. Wolff, Edward N, 1991. "Capital Formation and Productivity Convergence over the Long Term," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 565-79, June.
  17. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 1993. "International Comparisons of Educational Attainment," NBER Working Papers 4349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Islam, Nazrul, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-70, November.
  19. Engelbrecht, Hans-Jurgen, 1997. "International R&D spillovers, human capital and productivity in OECD economies: An empirical investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1479-1488, August.
  20. Pritchett, Lant, 1996. "Where has all the education gone?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1581, The World Bank.
  21. Bernhard Herz & Werner Roger, 1995. "Economic growth and convergence in Germany," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 131(1), pages 132-143, March.
  22. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  23. 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 363-89, September.
  24. Arantza Gorostiaga, 1999. "¿Cómo afecta el capital público y el capital humano al crecimiento?," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 23(1), pages 95-114, January.
  25. Malcolm Knight & Norman Loayza & Delano Villanueva, 1993. "Testing the Neoclassical Theory of Economic Growth: A Panel Data Approach," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(3), pages 512-541, September.
  26. Etsuro Shioji, 1997. "Convergence in panel data: Evidence from the skipping estimation," Economics Working Papers 235, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  27. Paul M. Romer, 1987. "Crazy Explanations for the Productivity Slowdown," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 163-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Etsuro Shioji, 1997. "It's still 2%: evidence on convergence from 116 years of the US States panel data," Economics Working Papers 236, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  29. John F. Helliwell, 1992. "Trade and Technical Progress," NBER Working Papers 4226, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Coulombe, S. & Lee, F.C., 1993. "Regional Economic Disparities in Canada," Working Papers 9317e, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  31. Caselli, Francesco & Coleman II, Wilbur John, 1999. "How Regions Converge," CEPR Discussion Papers 2191, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  32. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. de la Fuente, Angel, 1995. "The Empirics of Growth and Convergence: A Selective Review," CEPR Discussion Papers 1275, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  34. Kyriacou, George A., 1991. "Level and Growth Effects of Human Capital: A Cross-Country Study of the Convergence Hypothesis," Working Papers 91-26, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  35. Vasudeva Murthy, N. R. & Chien, I. S., 1997. "The empirics of economic growth for OECD countries: Some new findings," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 425-429, September.
  36. Daniel Cohen & Marcelo Soto, 2001. "Growth and Human Capital: Good Data, Good Results," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 179, OECD Publishing.
  37. Etsuro Shioji, 1992. "Regional growth in Japan," Economics Working Papers 138, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 1995.
  38. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1963. "On the Concept of Optimal Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 163, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  39. Kormendi, Roger C. & Meguire, Philip G., 1985. "Macroeconomic determinants of growth: Cross-country evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 141-163, September.
  40. Alan B. Krueger & Mikael Lindahl, 2000. "Education for Growth: Why and For Whom?," NBER Working Papers 7591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  41. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 92-96, May.
  42. Cohen Daniel, 1992. "Tests of the "convergence hypothesis" : a critical note," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9208, CEPREMAP.
  43. Barro, Robert T. & Sala-I-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Regional growth and migration: A Japan-United States comparison," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 312-346, December.
  44. Evans, Paul & Karras, Georgios, 1996. "Do Economies Converge? Evidence from a Panel of U.S. States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(3), pages 384-88, August.
  45. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1993. "Solow and States: Capital Accumulation, Productivity, and Economic Growth," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(4), pages 425-39, December.
  46. Nehru, Vikram & Swanson, Eric & Dubey, Ashutosh, 1995. "A new database on human capital stock in developing and industrial countries: Sources, methodology, and results," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 379-401, April.
  47. Canova, Fabio & Marcet, Albert, 1995. "The Poor Stay Poor: Non-Convergence Across Countries and Regions," CEPR Discussion Papers 1265, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  48. Dowrick, Steve & Nguyen, Duc-Tho, 1989. "OECD Comparative Economic Growth 1950-85: Catch-Up and Convergence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1010-30, December.
  49. Barro, R.J. & Sala-i-Martin, X., 1991. "Regional Growth and Migration: a Japan - U.S. Comparaison," Papers 650, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  50. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1990. "Economic Growth and Convergence across The United States," NBER Working Papers 3419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  51. 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.
  52. Romer, Paul M, 1987. "Growth Based on Increasing Returns Due to Specialization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 56-62, May.
  53. Jan Fagerberg & Bart Verspagen, 1996. "Heading for Divergence? Regional Growth in Europe Reconsidered," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(3), pages 431-448, 09.
  54. Benhabib, Jess & Spiegel, Mark M., 1994. "The role of human capital in economic development evidence from aggregate cross-country data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 143-173, October.
  55. Fabiani, S. & Pellegrini, G., 1997. "Education, Infrastructure, Geography and Growth: An Empirical Analysis of the Development of Italian Provinces," Papers 323, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:555.02. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Xavier Vila)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.