Macroeconomic Policies and Growth
While economic theory is largely mute on the question of whether macroeconomic policies affect long-run growth, an examination of the experience of different countries over various periods and the policies they pursued, lends strong support to the idea that macro policies do play a role in the growth process. A macroeconomic policy framework conducive to growth can be characterised by five features: a low and predictable inflation rate; an appropriate real interest rate; a stable and sustainable fiscal policy; a competitive and predictable real exchange rate; and a balance of payments that is regarded as viable. Countries with these macroeconomic characteristics tend to grow faster than those without them, though there are many individual cases of both developing and developed countries suggesting that satisfying only some of these conditions does not sustain strong growth. It is also important to recognise that the direction of causation is somewhat ambiguous: while good macro outcomes should be conducive to growth, strong growth is also conducive to good macroeconomic outcomes. The paper presents a wide-ranging examination of both theoretical and empirical evidence on the many ways macroeconomic policies may influence economic growth. Given monetary policy’s crucial role in determining the inflation rate in the longer run, there is a particular emphasis on the relationship between inflation and growth. The following five broad conclusions are drawn. First, although growth models assign a major role to capital accumulation, there is little evidence that aggregate investment yields excess returns, and so special policy incentives to boost aggregate investment appear inappropriate. Second, countries with low national saving invest less and grow more slowly than they would if saving were higher. Ultimately, the extent to which a country can rely on foreign savings to fund domestic investment and growth depends on the rate of capital inflow the market accepts as sustainable. For Australia, with abundant natural resources and a stable political environment, this may be higher than for many other capital importing countries. Third, declining national saving rates in many industrial countries are primarily a consequence of lower government saving, suggesting a need for reduced fiscal deficits. In Australia, however, private savings have also fallen substantially, suggesting a possible role for specific incentives to boost private savings. Fourth, when economies are near potential, short-run rises in output seem to be more inflationary than falls in output are disinflationary. This implies that macroeconomic policy acting pre-emptively to counter expected future demand pressures and quickly mitigating the effects of unexpected shocks has a positive effect on the level of output, compared with a more hesitant approach acting only when demand pressures have appeared. Further, provided inflation is kept close to its target in the medium term, policy which tolerates some short-term deviations of inflation from its target reduces fluctuations in real output and generates a higher long-run output level than a policy with the sole goal of keeping inflation close to its target. Finally, although most economists believe even moderate rates of inflation adversely affect growth, unambiguous evidence has been difficult to come by. There is still professional disagreement on the robustness of the empirical evidence, but it does appear that higher inflation, and the associated increased uncertainty about future inflation, adversely affects growth in the industrial countries. The gains from lower inflation appear to exceed the initial costs of reducing inflation within about a decade.
|Date of creation:||Oct 1995|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: GPO Box 3947, Sydney NSW 2001|
Web page: http://www.rba.gov.au/
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.rba.gov.au/forms/rdp-order-form/|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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.
- Boltho, Andrea & Holtham, Gerald, 1992. "The Assessment: New Approaches to Economic Growth," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(4), pages 1-14, Winter.
- Jeffrey Sachs & Andrew M. Warner, 1995.
"Economic Convergence and Economic Policies,"
CASE Network Studies and Analyses
0035, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
- Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew M. Warner, 1995. "Economic Convergence and Economic Policies," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1715, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew M. Warner, 1995. "Economic Convergence and Economic Policies," NBER Working Papers 5039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Maddison, A., 1991.
"A Long Run Perspective on Saving,"
443, Groningen State, Institute of Economic Research-.
- Robert J. Barro, 2013.
"Inflation and Economic Growth,"
Annals of Economics and Finance,
Society for AEF, vol. 14(1), pages 121-144, May.
- Guy Debelle & Glenn Stevens, 1995. "Monetary Policy Goals for Inflation in Australia," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9503, Reserve Bank of Australia.
- Paul M Romer, 1999.
"Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
2232, David K. Levine.
- Martin Feldstein & Charles Horioka, 1979.
"Domestic Savings and International Capital Flows,"
NBER Working Papers
0310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David Aschauer, 1988.
"Is public expenditure productive?,"
88-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
- Robert S. Pindyck & Andres Solimano, 1993.
"Economic Instability and Aggregate Investment,"
NBER Working Papers
4380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Pindyck, Robert S. & Solimano, Andres, 1993. "Economic instability and aggregate investment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1148, The World Bank.
- Pindyck, Robert S. & Solimano, Andrés., 1993. "Economic instability and aggregate investment," Working papers 3552-93., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
- Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C, 1995. "Europe's Golden Age: An Econometric Investigation of Changing Trend Rates of Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1087, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Stanley Fischer, 1991. "Growth, Macroeconomics, and Development," NBER Working Papers 3702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hughes, Helen, 1995. "Why Have East Asian Countries Led Economic Development?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 71(212), pages 88-104, March.
- Barro, R.J., 1989.
"Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries,"
RCER Working Papers
201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- Edward E. Leamer, 1982.
"Let's Take the Con Out of Econometrics,"
UCLA Economics Working Papers
239, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Stanley Fischer & Franco Modigliani, 1978.
"Towards An Understanding of the Real Effects and Costs of Inflation,"
NBER Working Papers
0303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stanley Fischer & Franco Modigliani, 1978. "Towards an understanding of the real effects and costs of inflation," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 114(4), pages 810-833, December.
- Otto, Glenn & Voss, Graham M, 1994. "Public Capital and Private Sector Productivity," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 70(209), pages 121-32, June.
- Fischer, Stanley, 1993.
"The role of macroeconomic factors in growth,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 485-512, December.
- Tamim Bayoumi & Michael W. Klein, 1995. "A Provincial View of Capital Mobility," NBER Working Papers 5115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Douglas Laxton & Guy M Meredith & David Rose, 1994.
"Asymmetric Effects of Economic Activityon Inflation; Evidence and Policy Implications,"
IMF Working Papers
94/139, International Monetary Fund.
- Douglas Laxton & Guy Meredith & David Rose, 1995. "Asymmetric Effects of Economic Activity on Inflation: Evidence and Policy Implications," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 42(2), pages 344-374, June.
- Pagano, Marco, 1993. "Financial markets and growth: An overview," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 613-622, April.
- Crafts, Nicholas & Toniolo, Gianni, 1995. "Post-war Growth: An Overview," CEPR Discussion Papers 1095, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- William Easterly & Sergio Rebelo, 1993.
"Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation,"
NBER Working Papers
4499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Easterly, William & Rebelo, Sergio, 1993. "Fiscal policy and economic growth: An empirical investigation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 417-458, December.
- Easterly, William & Rebelo, Sérgio, 1994. "Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation," CEPR Discussion Papers 885, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Adrian Orr & Malcolm Edey & Michael Kennedy, 1995. "The Determinants of Real Long-Term Interest Rates: 17 Country Pooled-Time-Series Evidence," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 155, OECD Publishing.
- repec:fth:harver:1418 is not listed on IDEAS
- Steve Dowrick, 1995. "The Determinants of Long-Run Growth," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Palle Andersen & Jacqueline Dwyer & David Gruen (ed.), Productivity and Growth Reserve Bank of Australia.
- Martin Feldstein, 1994.
"Fiscal Policies, Capital Formation, and Capitalism,"
NBER Working Papers
4885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "Fiscal policies, capital formation, and capitalism," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 399-420, April.
- Gramlich, Edward M, 1994. "Infrastructure Investment: A Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 1176-96, September.
- Otto, Glenn & Voss, Graham, 1996. "Public Capital and Private Production in Australia," MPRA Paper 52110, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Jacqueline Dwyer & Christopher Kent, 1993. "A Re-examination of the Determinants of Australia’s Imports," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9312, Reserve Bank of Australia.
- Sebastian Edwards, 1995. "Why are Saving Rates so Different Across Countries?: An International Comparative Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- J. Bradford DeLong & Lawrence H. Summers, 1988. "How Does Macroeconomic Policy Affect Output?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 433-494.
- Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
- repec:cdl:ucsbec:16-92 is not listed on IDEAS
- Fischer, S., 1991. "Growth, Macroeconomics, and Development," Working papers 580, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Gruen, David W R & Smith, Jeremy, 1994. "Excess Returns in a Small Open Economy," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 70(211), pages 381-96, December.
- Gordon, Robert J, 1995.
"Is There a Trade-off between Unemployment and Productivity Growth?,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1159, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Robert J. Gordon, 1995. "Is There a Tradeoff between Unemployment and Productivity Growth?," NBER Working Papers 5081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jørgen Elmeskov & Jeffrey Shafer & Warren Tease, 1991. "Savings Trends and Measurement Issues," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 105, OECD Publishing.
- Stanley Fischer, 1991. "Growth, Macroeconomics, and Development," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 329-379 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Grier, Kevin B. & Tullock, Gordon, 1989. "An empirical analysis of cross-national economic growth, 1951-1980," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 259-276, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rba:rbardp:rdp9507. 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: (Paula Drew)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.