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Tolerance and economic growth revisited: A note

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  • Bomhoff, Eduard
  • Lee, Grace HY

Abstract

Berggren and Elinder (BE) in this journal write on the relationship between the degree of tolerance in a nation and its rate of economic growth. They are disturbed to find in their cross sections that faster economic growth statistically goes together with intolerance of homosexuals. In this comment, we revisit the issue and demonstrate that the concern expressed by BE is unwarranted if we properly account for “conditional convergence” in the regressions for economic growth. Other things being equal, a country grows faster if it starts from a poorer initial position. In the BE dataset, China since the Deng reforms is a prime example. At about the same time, another group of countries managed to accelerate their economic growth after a long period of stagnation: the ex-communist countries in central and Eastern Europe. Many of these nations also grew exceptionally fast for a number of years, once freedom had been regained and the initial chaos overcome. With simple modeling of these historical initial conditions, we find no statistical pattern that associates bias against homosexuals with weaker economic growth. Our results are robust under alternative specifications.

Suggested Citation

  • Bomhoff, Eduard & Lee, Grace HY, 2012. "Tolerance and economic growth revisited: A note," MPRA Paper 52557, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:52557
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sala-i-Martin, Xavier X., 1996. "Regional cohesion: Evidence and theories of regional growth and convergence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1325-1352, June.
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    3. Niclas Berggren & Mikael Elinder, 2012. "Is tolerance good or bad for growth?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 283-308, January.
    4. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1991. "Convergence across States and Regions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(1), pages 107-182.
    5. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong Wha, 2013. "A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 184-198.
    6. Easterlin, Richard A., 2009. "Lost in transition: Life satisfaction on the road to capitalism," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 130-145, August.
    7. Quah, Danny T., 1996. "Empirics for economic growth and convergence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1353-1375, June.
    8. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 223-251, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sharon G. M. Goh & Grace H.Y. Lee & Eduard Bomhoff, 2016. "The Dynamics of Public Opinion towards Inequality in Malaysia," Monash Economics Working Papers 02-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    2. Fatma M. Utku-Ismihan, 2017. "Knowledge, Technological Catch-Up and Economic Growth: A Dynamic Panel Data Analysis For MENA and Latin America," Working Papers 1146, Economic Research Forum, revised 10 2003.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tolerance; Growth;

    JEL classification:

    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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