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Galton's Fallacy and Tests of the Convergence Hypothesis

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  • Quah, Danny

Abstract

Recent tests for the convergence hypothesis derive from regressing average growth rates on initial levels: a negative initial level coefficient is interpreted as convergence. These tests turn out to be plagued by Francis Galton's classical fallacy of regression towards the mean. Using a dynamic version of Galton's fallacy, I establish that coefficients of arbitrary signs in such regressions are consistent with an unchanging cross-section distribution of incomes. Alternative, more direct empirics used here show a tendency for divergence, rather than convergence, of cross-country incomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Quah, Danny, 1993. "Galton's Fallacy and Tests of the Convergence Hypothesis," CEPR Discussion Papers 820, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:820
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    Keywords

    Convergence; Cross-country growth; Galton's Fallacy; Regression Towards the Mean; Stochastic Kernel; Transition Matrix;

    JEL classification:

    • C10 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - General
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • E17 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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