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On The Tyranny of Numbers: East Asian Miracles in World Perspective

  • Veloso, Fernando A.
  • Ferreira, Pedro Cavalcanti Gomes
  • Pessoa, Samuel de Abreu

In a widely cited paper, Young (1995) showed that the East Asian miracles (Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan) grew mostly through input accumulation during the period 1966-1990. Using data for 83 countries taken from the Penn World Table, version 6.1, and Barro and Lee (2000), we use a common methodology in order to compare the growth performance of the East Asian miracles with the rest of the world. We find that, even though the TFP growth rates of the four East Asian miracles were not remarkable in absolute values, they were very high in relative terms. We argue that, since Young (1995) focused only on the four East Asian miracles, he did not notice that 1966-1990 was a period of particularly low TFP growth and particularly high factor accumulation in the world. Despite the fact that they had high rates of physical capital accumulation, the distinguishing feature of these miracles was their relative productivity growth performance.

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Paper provided by FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil) in its series Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) with number 569.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fgv:epgewp:569
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  1. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
  2. Psacharopoulos, George, 1993. "Returns to investment in education : a global update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1067, The World Bank.
  3. Robert J. Barro & Paul M. Romer, 1991. "Economic Growth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number barr91-1, May.
    • Robert J. Barro & Paul Romer, 1993. "Economic Growth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number barr93-1, May.
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  5. Douglas Gollin, 2001. "Getting Income Shares Right," Department of Economics Working Papers 2001-11, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  6. 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.
  7. Young, Alwyn, 1995. "The Tyranny of Numbers: Confronting the Statistical Realities of the East Asian Growth Experience," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 641-80, August.
  8. Islam, Nazrul, 1999. "International Comparison of Total Factor Productivity: A Review," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(4), pages 493-518, December.
  9. Parente, Stephen L & Prescott, Edward C, 1994. "Barriers to Technology Adoption and Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 298-321, April.
  10. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2003. "Economic Growth, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262025531, June.
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  12. Young, Alwyn, 1994. "Lessons from the East Asian NICS: A contrarian view," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 964-973, April.
  13. Chang-Tai Hsieh, 2002. "What Explains the Industrial Revolution in East Asia? Evidence From the Factor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 502-526, June.
  14. Barry P. Bosworth & Susan M. Collins, 2003. "The Empirics of Growth: An Update," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(2), pages 113-206.
  15. 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.
  16. Susan M. Collins & Barry P. Bosworth, 1996. "Economic Growth in East Asia: Accumulation versus Assimilation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(2), pages 135-204.
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