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On the aggregate and distributional implications of productivity differences across countries

Author

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  • Andres Erosa
  • Tatyana Koreshkova
  • Diego Restuccia

Abstract

We develop a quantitative theory of human capital with heterogeneous agents in order to assess the sources of cross-country income differences. The cross-sectional implications of the theory and U.S. data are used to restrict the parameters of human capital technology. We then assess the model's ability to explain the cross-country data. Our quantitative model generates a total-factor-productivity (TFP) elasticity of output per worker of 2.8. This implies that a factor of 3 difference in TFP is amplified through physical and human capital accumulation to generate a factor of 20 difference in output per worker --- as observed in the data between rich and poor countries. The implied difference in TFP is in the range of estimates from micro studies. The theory suggests that using Mincer returns to measure human capital understates human capital differences across countries by a factor of 2. The cross-country differences in human capital implied by the theory are consistent with evidence from earnings of immigrants in the United States. We also find that TFP has substantial effects on cross-sectional inequality and intergenerational mobility and that public education policies can have important aggregate and distributional implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Andres Erosa & Tatyana Koreshkova & Diego Restuccia, 2006. "On the aggregate and distributional implications of productivity differences across countries," Working Paper 06-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:06-02
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Berthold Herrendorf & Akos Valentinyi, 2005. "Which Sectors Make the Poor Countries so Unproductive?," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0519, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
    2. Stefano Bosi & Thierry Laurent, 2008. "Health, Growth and Welfare: Why Put Public Money on Medical R&D?," Documents de recherche 08-18, Centre d'Études des Politiques Économiques (EPEE), Université d'Evry Val d'Essonne.
    3. Carlos Esteban Posada & Jorge Andres Tamayo, 2008. "La transición hacia una economía urbana y el aumento del producto per cápita: el caso colombiano del siglo XX desde la perspectiva de Lucas," Borradores de Economia 534, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    4. Charles I. Jones, 2011. "Intermediate Goods and Weak Links in the Theory of Economic Development," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-28, April.
    5. Charles I. Jones, 2008. "Intermediate Goods, Weak Links, and Superstars: A Theory of Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 13834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Córdoba, Juan Carlos & Ripoll, Marla, 2008. "Endogenous TFP and cross-country income differences," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 1158-1170, September.
    7. Ana Hidalgo & Amparo Castelló-Climent, 2010. "Quality and Quantity of Education in the Process of Development," 2010 Meeting Papers 238, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Marla, Ripoll & Juan, Cordoba, 2006. "The Role of Education in Development," MPRA Paper 1864, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Feb 2007.
    9. Castelló-Climent, Amparo & Hidalgo-Cabrillana, Ana, 2012. "The role of educational quality and quantity in the process of economic development," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 391-409.
    10. Todd Schoellman, 2007. "The Causes and Consequences of Cross-Country Differences in Schooling Attainment," 2007 Meeting Papers 297, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Tasso Adamopoulos & Ahmet Akyol, 2009. "Relative Underperformance Alla Turca," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(4), pages 697-717, October.
    12. Herrendorf, Berthold & Valentinyi, Akos, 2005. "What Sectors Make the Poor Countries So Unproductive?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5399, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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    Keywords

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