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Quantity and Quality of Economic Growth

  • Robert J. Barro

Most cross-country studies of economic performance have focused on narrow economic variables. The present study emphasizes instead some quality dimensions of economic development, including health, fertility, income distribution, political institutions, crime, and religion. The data reveal a regular pattern in which economic development goes along with higher life expectancy and reduced fertility. Improvements in the standard of living are also associated with expansions of democracy, increased maintenance of the rule of law, and reductions in official corruption. Despite the presence of a Kuznets curve, little of the variations in income inequality are explained by the overall level of economic development. Crime rates, proxied by murder rates, also bear little relation with the level of development but are more closely associated with income inequality. Finally, there is some support for the secularization hypothesis, in that economic development is typically accompanied by lower levels of church attendance and religious beliefs. However, religiosity is positively related to education, holding fixed other indicators of economic development.

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Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 168.

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Date of creation: Jul 2002
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Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:168
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  1. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "What causes violent crime?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 1323-1357, July.
  2. Grossman, Gene M & Krueger, Alan B, 1995. "Economic Growth and the Environment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 353-77, May.
  3. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  4. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  5. Easterly, William, 1999. " Life during Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 239-76, September.
  6. Barro, Robert J, 2000. " Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
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