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A Pair-Wise Approach to Testing for Output and Growth Convergence

  • M. Hashem Pesaran

This paper proposes a pair-wise approach to testing for output convergence that considers all N(N-1)/2 possible pairs of log per capita output gaps across N economies. A general probabilistic definition of output convergence is also proposed, which suggests that all such output gap pairs must be stationary with a constant mean. The approach is compatible with individual output series having unit roots, does not involve the choice of a reference country in computation of output gaps, and can be applied when N is large relative to T (the time dimension of the panel). The proposed test is applied to output series in the Penn World Tables over 1950-2000, as well as to Maddion’s historical series over 1870-2000. Overall, the results do not support output convergence, and suggest that the findings of convergence clubs in the literature might be spurious. However, significant evidence of growth convergence is found, a result which is reasonably robust to the choice of the sample period and country groupings. Non-convergence of log per capita outputs combined with growth convergence suggests that while common technological progress seems to have been diffusing reasonably widely across economies, there are nevertheless important country-specific factors (for example, wars, famines, revolutions, regime and institutional changes) that render output gaps highly persistent, such that we can not be sure that the probability for the output gaps to lie within a fixed range will be non-zero.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1308.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1308
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  11. S Durlauf & Danny Quah, 1998. "The New Empirics of Economic Growth," CEP Discussion Papers dp0384, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  12. Camarero, Mariam, & Flôres, R. & C. Tamarit, 2002. "Time series evidence of international output convergence in Mercosur," Computing in Economics and Finance 2002 87, Society for Computational Economics.
  13. L. Vanessa Smith & Stephen Leybourne & Tae-Hwan Kim & Paul Newbold, 2004. "More powerful panel data unit root tests with an application to mean reversion in real exchange rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(2), pages 147-170.
  14. Kwiatkowski, Denis & Phillips, Peter C. B. & Schmidt, Peter & Shin, Yongcheol, 1992. "Testing the null hypothesis of stationarity against the alternative of a unit root : How sure are we that economic time series have a unit root?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1-3), pages 159-178.
  15. Bart Hobijn & Philip Hans Franses, 2000. "Asymptotically perfect and relative convergence of productivity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(1), pages 59-81.
  16. Islam, Nazrul, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-70, November.
  17. Nazrul Islam, 2003. "What have We Learnt from the Convergence Debate?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(3), pages 309-362, 07.
  18. Bernard, A.B. & Durlauf, S.N., 1993. "Convergence in International Output," Working papers 93-7, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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