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An Empirical Test of the Poverty Traps Hypothesis

  • Francisco Rodríguez

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Wesleyan University)

This paper presents an empirical test of a subclass of poverty traps hypotheses. The test is based on the observation that the nonconvexities in the production function necessary to generate multiple equilibria need only be present in the region between the equilibria. Increasing returns should therefore be strongest when the economy is transitioning between steady states than when it is at or near one of those steady states. I implement this idea by estimating the degree of increasing returns during growth accelerations and growth collapses for a panel of developing and developed economies using UNIDO's Database of Industrial Statistics. I find no evidence of systematic differences in economies of scale between transition and non-transition episodes, shedding doubt on the idea that increasing returns in manufacturing generate poverty traps.

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File URL: http://repec.wesleyan.edu/pdf/frrodriguez/2008005_rodriguez.pdf
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Paper provided by Wesleyan University, Department of Economics in its series Wesleyan Economics Working Papers with number 2008-005.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wes:weswpa:2008-005
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  1. Kiminori Matsuyama, 1991. "Increasing Returns, Industrialization, and Indeterminacy of Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 617-650.
  2. Valerie Cerra & Sweta C. Saxena, 2005. "Growth Dynamics: The Myth of Economic Recovery," Macroeconomics 0508008, EconWPA.
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  4. Daniel Lederman & William F. Maloney, 2007. "Natural Resources : Neither Curse nor Destiny," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7183.
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  6. Azariadis, Costas & Stachurski, John, 2005. "Poverty Traps," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5 Elsevier.
  7. Quah, Danny T, 1996. "Twin Peaks: Growth and Convergence in Models of Distribution Dynamics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 1045-55, July.
  8. Kraay, Aart & Raddatz, Claudio, 2007. "Poverty traps, aid, and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 315-347, March.
  9. Murphy, Kevin M. & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1989. "Industrialization and the Big Push," Scholarly Articles 3606235, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Barriers to Riches," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661306, June.
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  12. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Wing Thye Woo, 2000. "Understanding china's economic performance," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 1-50.
  13. Ricardo Hausmann & Francisco Rodríguez & Rodrigo Wagner, 2006. "Growth Collapses," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2006-024, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
  14. William Easterly, 2006. "Reliving the 1950s: the big push, poverty traps, and takeoffs in economic development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 289-318, December.
  15. Bloom, David E & Canning, David & Sevilla, Jaypee, 2003. "Geography and Poverty Traps," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 355-78, December.
  16. Author-Name: Jeffrey D. Sachs & John W. McArthur & Guido Schmidt-Traub & Margaret Kruk & Chandrika Bahadur & Michael Faye & Gordon McCord, 2004. "Ending Africa's Poverty Trap," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 35(1), pages 117-240.
  17. Danny Quah, 1996. "Twin Peaks: Growth and Convergence in Models of Distribution Dynamics," CEP Discussion Papers dp0280, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  18. John Laitner, 2000. "Structural Change and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 545-561.
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