IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Public Policy and Economic Growth: Developing Neoclassical Implications


  • Robert G. King
  • Sergio Rebelo


Why do the countries of the world display considerable disparity in long term growth rates? This paper examines the hypothesis that the answer lies in differences in national public policies which affect the incentives that individuals have to accumulate capital in both its physical and human forms. Our analysis shows that these incentive effects can induce large difference in long run growth rates. Since many of the key tax rates are difficult to measure, our procedure is an indirect one We work within a calibrated, two sector endogenous growth model, which has its origins in the microeconomic literature on human capital formation. We show that national taxation can substantially affect long run growth rates. In particular, for small open economies with substantial capital mobility, national taxation can readily lead to "development traps" (in which countries stagnate or regress) or to "growth miracles" (in which countries shift from little growth to rapid expansion) This influence of taxation on the rate of economic growth has important welfare implications: in basic endogenous growth models, the welfare cost of a 10 % increase in the rate of income tax can be 40 times larger than in the basic neoclassical model.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert G. King & Sergio Rebelo, 1990. "Public Policy and Economic Growth: Developing Neoclassical Implications," NBER Working Papers 3338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3338
    Note: EFG

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
    3. King, Robert G & Rebelo, Sergio T, 1993. "Transitional Dynamics and Economic Growth in the Neoclassical Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 908-931, September.
    4. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1980. "Methods and Problems in Business Cycle Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 12(4), pages 696-715, November.
    5. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-357, April.
    6. Summers, Robert & Heston, Alan, 1984. "Improved International Comparisons of Real Product and Its Composition: 1950-1980," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 30(2), pages 207-262, June.
    7. J. A. Mirrlees, 1969. "The Dynamic Nonsubstitution Theorem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 67-76.
    8. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3338. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.