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Evaluating Explanations for Stagnation

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  • Elizabeth M. Caucutt

    (University of Western Ontario)

  • Krishna B. Kumar

    (USC Marshall School of Business)

Abstract

In this paper, we evaluate four explanations for economic stagnation that have been proposed in the literature: coordination failures, ineffective mix of occupational choices, insufficient human capital accumulation, and politico-economic considerations. We calibrate models that embody these explanations in the context of the stagnant economies of sub-Saharan Africa. The methodology of calibration is ideally suited for this evaluation, given the paucity of high-quality data, the high degree of model nonlinearity, and the need for conducting counterfactual policy experiments. In addition to studying how closely and robustly these models capture the African situation, we examine the quantitative aspects of their policy implications. We find that calibrations that yield multiple equilibria -- one prosperity and the other stagnation -- are not particularly robust. This tempers optimism about the efficacy of one-shot or temporary development policies suggested by models with multiplicity. However, the calibrated models indicate that small policy interventions are sufficient to trigger development in stagnant economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Krishna B. Kumar, 2004. "Evaluating Explanations for Stagnation," Development and Comp Systems 0409002, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0409002 Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 46
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Blackburn, Keith & Forgues-Puccio, Gonzalo F., 2007. "Distribution and development in a model of misgovernance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 1534-1563, August.
    2. Kraay, Aart & Raddatz, Claudio, 2007. "Poverty traps, aid, and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 315-347, March.
    3. Humberto López & Luis Servén, 2015. "Too Poor to Grow," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Ricardo J. Caballero & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (ed.), Economic Policies in Emerging-Market Economies Festschrift in Honor of Vittorio Corbo, edition 1, volume 21, chapter 13, pages 309-350 Central Bank of Chile.
    4. Ahlin, Christian & Jiang, Neville, 2008. "Can micro-credit bring development?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 1-21, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Coordination failure; Occupational choice; Human capital accumulation; Political economy; Economic Development; Calibration.;

    JEL classification:

    • O - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth
    • P - Economic Systems

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