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Growth and convergence/divergence in productivity under balance-of-payments constraint


  • Perez Caldentey, Esteban
  • Ali, Anesa


This paper presents a model of convergence/divergence in productivity for two economies of different size and development building on Kaldor’s cumulative causation and the technological gap approaches to growth. Both operate within the logic provided by a balance-of-payments constraint framework. The more developed and larger economy, the leader, is technologically more advanced with higher levels of productivity and issues the international reserve currency. The developing economy, the follower, is closely linked to the leader economy and is balance-of-payments-constrained (BPC). The paper argues that the growth of the leader has at the same time divergent and convergent effects on the productivity gap between both economies. The divergent effect (the Kaldor effect) works through a process of induced productivity and cumulative causation. The convergent effect (Thirlwall’s Law) works through the BPC constraint. The model states that growth with convergence in productivity requires that the ratio of export to import income elasticities of the follower economy exceeds the ratio of the induced productivity of the leader economy to that of the follower economy. The paper then highlights the difficulty of achieving convergence under a BPC constraint and provides policy implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Perez Caldentey, Esteban & Ali, Anesa, 2010. "Growth and convergence/divergence in productivity under balance-of-payments constraint," MPRA Paper 20056, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20056

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ali, Anesa & Pérez Caldentey, Esteban, 2007. "The comparative advantage fallacy and a rule for convergence," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), December.
    2. Peter Blair Henry, 2007. "Capital Account Liberalization: Theory, Evidence, and Speculation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(4), pages 887-935, December.
    3. Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 1995. "Technology and trade," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 25, pages 1279-1337 Elsevier.
    4. Anthony P. Thirlwall, 2011. "The Balance of Payments Constraint as an Explanation of International Growth Rate Differences," PSL Quarterly Review, Economia civile, vol. 64(259), pages 429-438.
    5. Bart Los & Bart Verspagen, 2006. "The Evolution Of Productivity Gaps And Specialization Patterns," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(4), pages 464-493, November.
    6. Paola Criscuolo & Rajneesh Narula, 2008. "A novel approach to national technological accumulation and absorptive capacity: aggregating Cohen and Levinthal," The European Journal of Development Research, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 20(1), pages 56-73.
    7. Dixon, R & Thirlwall, A P, 1975. "A Model of Regional Growth-Rate Differences on Kaldorian Lines," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(2), pages 201-214, July.
    8. Davidson, Paul, 1972. "Money and the Real World," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(325), pages 101-115, March.
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    10. Fagerberg, Jan & Verspagen, Bart, 2002. "Technology-gaps, innovation-diffusion and transformation: an evolutionary interpretation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(8-9), pages 1291-1304, December.
    11. Mark Rogers, 2004. "Absorptive capability and economic growth: how do countries catch-up?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(4), pages 577-596, July.
    12. repec:dgr:rugccs:200301 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Abdelhak Senhadji, 1998. "Time-Series Estimation of Structural Import Demand Equations: A Cross-Country Analysis," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(2), pages 236-268, June.
    14. Moreno Brid, Juan Carlos & Pérez Caldentey, Esteban, 2003. "Trade liberalization and economic growth in Central America," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), December.
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    More about this item


    Kaldor effect; Thirlwall effect; convergence/divergence; balance-of-payments constraint;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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