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Errors in Variables and the Empirics of Economic Growth


  • Jean-Louis Arcand

    (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - UdA - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Marcel Dagenais

    (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - UdA - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


We examine cross-sectional empirical evidence on the determinants of economic growth in light of an instrumental variables estimator, based on sample moments of order higher than two, which does not require extraneous instruments and which remains consistent, under quite reasonable assumptions, when measurement errors affect the explanatory variables. We focus on several in‡fluential papers — Barro (1991), Mankiw, Romer, and Weil (1992), Sachs and Warner (1997a), Easterly and Levine (1997), Levine and Zervos (1998)— and find that many of their results are “fragile”. We argue that the application of our estimator to cross-sectional empirical studies of the determinants of growth yields important insights which may qualify previous findings in the literature, especially given the errors in variables problems which are known to plague commonly used cross-sectional datasets.

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  • Jean-Louis Arcand & Marcel Dagenais, 2011. "Errors in Variables and the Empirics of Economic Growth," Working Papers halshs-00564683, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00564683
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    2. Luiz M. Cruz & Marcelo J. Moreira, 2005. "On the Validity of Econometric Techniques with Weak Instruments: Inference on Returns to Education Using Compulsory School Attendance Laws," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    3. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    4. 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.
    5. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-963, September.
    6. Pal, Manoranjan, 1980. "Consistent moment estimators of regression coefficients in the presence of errors in variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 349-364, December.
    7. Jonathan R. W. Temple, 1998. "Robustness tests of the augmented Solow model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 361-375.
    8. Nelson, Daniel B., 1995. "Vector attenuation bias in the classical errors-in-variables model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 345-349, October.
    9. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    10. Hahn, Jinyong & Hausman, Jerry, 2002. "Notes on bias in estimators for simultaneous equation models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 237-241, April.
    11. Dagenais, Marcel G. & Dagenais, Denyse L., 1997. "Higher moment estimators for linear regression models with errors in the variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1-2), pages 193-221.
    12. Edwards, Sebastian, 1993. "Openness, Trade Liberalization, and Growth in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 1358-1393, September.
    13. John Shea, 1997. "Instrument Relevance in Multivariate Linear Models: A Simple Measure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 348-352, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sophia Gollwitzer & Eteri Kvintradze & Tej Prakash & Luis-Felipe Zanna & Era Dabla-Norris & Richard I Allen & Irene Yackovlev & Victor Duarte Lledo, 2010. "Budget Institutions and Fiscal Performance in Low-Income Countries," IMF Working Papers 10/80, International Monetary Fund.

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    errors in variables; economic growth;

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