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The spirit of capitalism and long-run growth

  • Heng-fu Zou

Why do different countries have different long-term savings and growth rates? Why is the productivity rate not the same around the world? Recent new theories of endogenous growth have tried to answer these questions by replacing the usual assumption of diminishing returns in production. The author offers an alternative: he introduces"the spirit of capitalism"into the model. In the long run, countries with different degrees of capitalist spirit will have different consumption, capital stock, and endogenous growth rates. In his model, inflation is no longer superneutral in relation to long-run growth. The author provides a formal model that is supported by many empirical and historical studies on cultural attributes and economic development. His model helps explain: (a) why Japan and four East Asian countries, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore have succeeded; (b) why nations that had an established Protestant religion in 1870 had a per capita income in 1979 that was more than a third higher than in Catholic nations; and (c) why British industry has declined since 1850.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 630.

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Date of creation: 31 Mar 1991
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:630
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  1. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1963. "On the Concept of Optimal Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 163, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. 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.
  3. Robert J. Barro, 1988. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 2588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Heng-fu Zou, 1995. "'The spirit of capitalism' and long-run growth," CEMA Working Papers 94, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  5. Heng-fu Zou, 1995. "The spirit of capitalism and savings behavior," CEMA Working Papers 79, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  6. Rebelo, Sergio, 1991. "Long-Run Policy Analysis and Long-Run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 500-521, June.
  7. Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo Manuelli, 1990. "A Convex Model of Equilibrium Growth," NBER Working Papers 3241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. De Long, J Bradford, 1988. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1138-54, December.
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