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Capital Mobility in Neoclassical Models of Growth

Listed author(s):
  • Barro, R.J.
  • Mankiw, N.G.
  • Sala-i-Martin, X.

The empirical evidence reveals conditional convergence in the sense that economies grow faster per capita if they start further below their steady-state positions. For a homogeneous group of economies - like the U.S. states, regions of western European countries, and the GECD countries - the convergence is unconditional in that the poor economies grow faster than the rich ones. The neoclassical growth model for a closed economy fits these facts if capital is viewed broadly to encompass human investments, so that diminishing returns to capital set in slowly, and if differences in government policies or preferences about saving lead to heterogeneity in steady-state positions. Yet if the model is opened to allow for full capital mobility, then the predicted rates of convergence for capital and output are much higher than those observed empirically. We show that the open-economy model conforms with the evidence if an economy can use foreign debt to finance only a portion of its capital, even if 50% or more of the total. The problems in using human capital as collateral can explain the required imperfection in the credit market.

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Paper provided by Yale - Economic Growth Center in its series Papers with number 655.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 1992
Handle: RePEc:fth:yalegr:655
Contact details of provider: Postal:
U.S.A.; YALE UNIVERSITY, ECONOMIC GROWTH CENTER, YALE STATION NEW-HAVEN CONNECTICUT 06520 U.S.A

Phone: (203) 432-3610
Fax: (203) 432-3898
Web page: http://www.econ.yale.edu/~egcenter/

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  1. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1963. "On the Concept of Optimal Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 163, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Martin Feldstein & Charles Horioka, 1979. "Domestic Savings and International Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 0310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Daniel Cohen & Jeffrey Sachs, 1985. "Growth and External Debt Under Risk of Debt Repudiation," NBER Working Papers 1703, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Rebelo, Sergio, 1991. "Long-Run Policy Analysis and Long-Run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 500-521, June.
  5. Barro, R.J. & Sala-i-Martin, X., 1991. "Regional Growth and Migration: a Japan - U.S. Comparaison," Papers 650, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  6. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  7. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  8. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1992. "Transitional Dynamics in Two-Sector Models of Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 3986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1991. "A sensitivity analysis of cross-country growth regressions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 609, The World Bank.
  10. M. Kurz, 1968. "The General Instability of a Class of Competitive Growth Processes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 155-174.
  11. Barro, R.J. & Sala-I-Martin, X., 1991. "Convergence Across States and Regions," Papers 629, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  12. Susan M. Collins & Won-Am Park, 1989. "External Debt and Macroeconomic Performance in South Korea," NBER Chapters, in: Developing Country Debt and the World Economy, pages 121-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Paul M. Romer, 1987. "Crazy Explanations for the Productivity Slowdown," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 163-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
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