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Determinants of Economic Growth in a Panel of Countries

  • Robert J. Barro

Growth rates vary enormously across countries over long periods of time. The reason for these variations is a central issue for economic policy, and crosscountry empirical work on this topic has been popular since the early 1990s. The findings from cross-country panel regressions show that the differences in per capita growth rates relate systematically to a set of quantifiable explanatory variables. One effect is a conditional convergence term-the growth rate rises when the initial level of real per capita GDP is low relative to the starting amount of human capital in the forms of educational attainment and health and for given values of other variables that reflect policies, institutions, and national characteristics. For given per capita GDP and human capital, growth depends positively on the rule of law and the investment ratio and negatively on the fertility rate, the ratio of government consumption to GDP, and the inflation rate. Growth increases with favorable movements in the terms of trade and with increased international openness, but the latter effect is surprisingly weak.

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Paper provided by China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics in its series CEMA Working Papers with number 505.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 4(2), pages 231-274, November 2003.
Handle: RePEc:cuf:wpaper:505
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cema.cufe.edu.cn/
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  1. Martin, Philippe & Rogers, Carol Ann, 1995. "Stabilization Policy, Learning by Doing, and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1130, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S71-102, October.
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  7. Robert J. Barro, 2012. "Inflation and Economic Growth," CEMA Working Papers 568, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  8. 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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  10. Easterly, William & Rebelo, Sergio, 1993. "Fiscal policy and economic growth: An empirical investigation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 417-458, December.
  11. Barro, Robert J, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-43, May.
  12. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1996. "Transfers, Social Safety Nets, and Economic Growth," IMF Working Papers 96/40, International Monetary Fund.
  13. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," CID Working Papers 42, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  14. T. W. Swan, 1956. "ECONOMIC GROWTH and CAPITAL ACCUMULATION," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 32(2), pages 334-361, November.
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  16. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
  17. Summers, Robert & Heston, Alan, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950-1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-68, May.
  18. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1963. "On the Concept of Optimal Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 163, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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