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A sensitivity analysis of cross-country growth regressions

  • Levine, Ross
  • Renelt, David

A vast amount of literature uses cross-country regressions to find empirical links between policy indicators and long-run average growth rates. The authors study whether the conclusions from existing studies are robust or fragile when small changes in the list of independent variables occur. They find that although"policy"appears to be importantly related to growth, there is no strong independent relationship between growth and almost every existing policy indicator. They also find that very few macroeconomic variables are robustly correlated with cross-country growth rates. They clarify the conditions under which one finds convergence of per capita output levels and confirm the positive correlation between the share of investment in GDP and long-run growth. They conclude that all findings using the share of exports in GDP could be obtained almost identically using the total trade or import share and also that few commonly used fiscal indicators are robustly correlated with growth. Finally, the authors highlight the importance of considering alternative specifications in cross-country growth regressions.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 609.

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Date of creation: 31 Mar 1991
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:609
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  1. Luis A. Rivera-Batiz & Paul M. Romer, 1991. "International Trade with Endogenous Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 3594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Barro, R.J., 1988. "Government Spending In A Simple Model Of Endogenous Growth," RCER Working Papers 130, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  3. McAleer, Michael & Pagan, Adrian R & Volker, Paul A, 1985. "What Will Take the Con out of Econometrics?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 293-307, June.
  4. Irving B. Kravis & Robert E. Lipsey, 1991. "The International Comparison Program: Current Status and Problems," NBER Chapters, in: International Economic Transactions: Issues in Measurement and Empirical Research, pages 437-468 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kormendi, Roger C. & Meguire, Philip G., 1985. "Macroeconomic determinants of growth: Cross-country evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 141-163, September.
  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. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S71-102, October.
  8. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1990. "Trade, Innovation, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 86-91, May.
  9. Pritchett, Lant, 1996. "Measuring outward orientation in LDCs: Can it be done?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 307-335, May.
  10. repec:oup:qjecon:v:107:y:1992:i:2:p:407-37 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Leamer, Edward E & Leonard, Herman B, 1983. "Reporting the Fragility of Regression Estimates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(2), pages 306-17, May.
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