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The ghost of financing gap : how the Harrod-Domar growth model still haunts development economics


  • Easterly, William


The Harrod-Domar growth model supposedly died long ago. But for more than 40 years, economists working on developing countries have applied -and still apply- the Harrod-Domar model to calculate short-run investment requirements for a target growth rate. They then calculate a financing gap between the required investment and available resources, and often fill the"financing gap"with foreign aid. The author traces the intellectual history of how a long-dead model came to influence today's aid allocation to developing countries. He asks whether the model's surprising afterlife is attributable to consistency with the 40 years of data that have accumulated during its use. The answer is"no."

Suggested Citation

  • Easterly, William, 1997. "The ghost of financing gap : how the Harrod-Domar growth model still haunts development economics," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1807, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1807

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. From 0.7% to IRPs
      by Matthew Dickert in Blogal Prosperity on 2011-05-19 01:01:27


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    2. Joan Carles Ferrer-Comalat & Salvador Linares-Mustarós & Ricard Rigall-Torrent, 2021. "Incorporating Fuzzy Logic in Harrod’s Economic Growth Model," Mathematics, MDPI, vol. 9(18), pages 1-20, September.
    3. Koopman, Eline & Wacker, Konstantin M., 2023. "Drivers of growth accelerations: What role for capital accumulation?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 169(C).
    4. Reinikka, Ritva & Svensson, Jakob, 2002. "Coping with poor public capital," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 51-69, October.
    5. Stéphane Pallage & Michel A. Robe, 2001. "Foreign Aid and the Business Cycle," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(4), pages 641-672, November.
    6. Blanco Cossio,Fernando Andres,Sachdeva,Niharika, 2021. "The Cyclicality of IFC Investments : To Be, or Not to Be, Procyclical," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9746, The World Bank.
    7. Edmore MAHEMBE & Nicholas M. ODHIAMBO, 2017. "On The Link Between Foreign Aid And Poverty Reduction In Developing Countries," Revista Galega de Economía, University of Santiago de Compostela. Faculty of Economics and Business., vol. 26(2), pages 113-128.
    8. Egor Kraev & Bishop Akolgo, 2005. "Assessing Modelling Approaches to the Distributional Effects of Macroeconomic Policy," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 23(3), pages 299-312, May.
    9. Surugiu Marius Razvan & Surugiu Camelia, 2016. "Growth, Trade, Investments and Expenditures: Analysis of the Nexus," EuroEconomica, Danubius University of Galati, issue 2(35), pages 7-16, November.
    10. Gabriele Tondl, 1999. "What Determined the Uneven Growth of Europe´s Southern Regions? An Empirical Study with Panel Data," Working Papers geewp04, Vienna University of Economics and Business Research Group: Growth and Employment in Europe: Sustainability and Competitiveness.
    11. Hisham Mohamed Hassan Ali, 2012. "Cointegration Growth, Poverty and Inequality in Sudan," Economic Research Guardian, Weissberg Publishing, vol. 2(1), pages 70-98, May.
    12. Reinikka, Ritva & Svensson, Jakob, 1999. "How inadequate provision of public infrastructure and services affects private investment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2262, The World Bank.
    13. Thilak Ranaweera, 2004. "Ghost of the financing gap: an overlooked aspect of the aid debate," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(4), pages 637-652.
    14. World Bank, 2002. "The Republic of Yemen - Economic Growth : Sources, Constraints and Potentials," World Bank Publications - Reports 15383, The World Bank Group.
    15. Doina Dragoi, 2019. "Harrod–Domar Economic Growth Model In Classical And Neoclassical Theory Name And Surname," Annals - Economy Series, Constantin Brancusi University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 6, pages 281-287, December.
    16. Stephen A.O`Connell and Charles C.Soludo, 1998. "Aid intensity in Africa," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1999-03, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    17. Jean-David Naudet & Denis Cogneau & Lisa Chauvet, 2008. "Sélectivité et égalité des chances dans l’allocation de l’aide internationale. Une analyse de la dernière décennie," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 186(5), pages 23-38.
    18. Ali Abdel Gadir Ali, "undated". "Can the Sudan Reduce Poverty by Half by the Year 2015?," API-Working Paper Series 0304, Arab Planning Institute - Kuwait, Information Center.
    19. Ulrich Fritsche, 1999. "Konzeptionelle Schwächen von IWF-Stabilisierungsprogrammen im Kontext der Asienkrise," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 68(1), pages 110-117.
    20. Volkhart Vincentz, 2002. "Entwicklungen und Tendenzen der Finanzsysteme in Osteuropa," Working Papers 237, Leibniz Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and Southeast European Studies).
    21. Reinikka, Ritva & Svensson, Jakob, 1999. "Confronting competition - investment response and constraints in Uganda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2242, The World Bank.
    22. José Reyes Bernal-Bellón, 2011. "Reflexiones acerca de los desarrollos recientes del modelo de crecimiento de Harrod," Revista CIFE, Universidad Santo Tomás, June.
    23. Siham MATALLAH & Lahouari BENLAHCENE, 2021. "Public service delivery dilemma and economic growth challenges in the MENA Region," Theoretical and Applied Economics, Asociatia Generala a Economistilor din Romania - AGER, vol. 0(4(629), W), pages 31-50, Winter.
    24. Artelaris, Panagiotis & Arvanitidis, Paschalis & Petrakos, George, 2007. "Explaining Knowledge-Based Economic Dynamism in a Global Scale," Papers DYNREG05, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    25. Nicolas Ponty, 2005. "Un modèle MAcroDYNamique des économies des pays membres de l’UEMOA : MADYN," Documents de travail 118, Groupe d'Economie du Développement de l'Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV.

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