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Public Policy And Economic Growth: Developing Neoclassical Implications

  • KING, R.G.
  • REBELO, S.

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.

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Paper provided by University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER) in its series RCER Working Papers with number 225.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 1988
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:roc:rocher:225
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University of Rochester, Center for Economic Research, Department of Economics, Harkness 231 Rochester, New York 14627 U.S.A.

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  1. 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 908-31, September.
  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. J. A. Mirrlees, 1969. "The Dynamic Nonsubstitution Theorem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 67-76.
  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 339-57, April.
  6. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  7. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  8. 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 207-62, June.
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