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Reconciling conflicting evidence on the origins of comparative development: A finite mixture model approach

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  • Thomas K.J. McDermott

Abstract

In this paper, I revisit the controversy over the fundamental sources of comparative development. In contrast to much of the previous literature, my focus is on the appropriate specification of the empirical strategy. Using a finite mixture model approach and Monte Carlo simulations, I demonstrate that the standard linear estimation strategy may be mis-specified and as a result is likely to obscure the true effects of the variables used to explain cross-country income differences. My findings could potentially reconcile apparently conflicting results from the existing literature on the role of geography and institutions in comparative development.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas K.J. McDermott, 2013. "Reconciling conflicting evidence on the origins of comparative development: A finite mixture model approach," GRI Working Papers 130, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  • Handle: RePEc:lsg:lsgwps:wp130
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Raphael A. Auer, 2013. "Geography, institutions, and the making of comparative development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 179-215, June.
    2. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2011. "Life expectancy and economic growth: the role of the demographic transition," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 99-133, June.
    3. Quah, Danny T, 1996. "Twin Peaks: Growth and Convergence in Models of Distribution Dynamics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 1045-1055, July.
    4. Kai Carstensen & Erich Gundlach, 2006. "The Primacy of Institutions Reconsidered: Direct Income Effects of Malaria Prevalence," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 20(3), pages 309-339.
    5. David Y. Albouy, 2012. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 3059-3076, October.
    6. Rodrik, Dani, 1999. "Where Did All the Growth Go? External Shocks, Social Conflict, and Growth Collapses," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 385-412, December.
    7. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Tropics, germs, and crops: how endowments influence economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 3-39, January.
    8. Strulik, Holger, 2008. "Geography, health, and the pace of demo-economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 61-75, April.
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    12. Sambit Bhattacharyya, 2009. "Root Causes of African Underdevelopment," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 18(5), pages 745-780, November.
    13. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2011. "Disease and development: The role of life expectancy reconsidered," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 113(3), pages 269-272.
    14. Quah, Danny, 1996. "Twin peaks : growth and convergence in models of distribution dynamics," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2278, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    15. Tol, Richard S. J., 2011. "Poverty Traps and Climate Change," Papers WP413, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    16. Bloom, David E & Canning, David & Sevilla, Jaypee, 2003. "Geography and Poverty Traps," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 355-378, December.
    17. Conway, Karen Smith & Deb, Partha, 2005. "Is prenatal care really ineffective? Or, is the 'devil' in the distribution?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 489-513, May.
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