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Institutional Infrastructure and Economic Performance: Levels versus Catching Up and Frontier Shifts

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  • Laurens Cherchye

    ()

  • Wim Moesen

    ()

Abstract

We analyze the relationship between institutional infrastructure (capturing political stability, quality of government and social infrastructure) and overall country productivity for a sample of 57 (OECD and non-OECD) countries. Specifically, we compare empirical results for alternative productivity measures: output per worker and total factor productivity (TFP); in addition, we consider both levels and changes, where we decompose TFP changes into efficiency changes and technical changes. This gives us insight into the different channels through which the institutional infrastructure impacts on overall productivity performance: the 'accumulation' of production factors versus the 'accommodation' of production factors, and the 'shifting' of the world productivity frontier versus the 'catching up' with this frontier. In line with the existing literature, our results suggest a substantial accumulation effect: good institutions enhance capital accumulation. In addition, we find significant evidence in favor of an accommodation effect (in terms of both levels and changes), which elicits institutional quality as a 'lubricant' of the economic system: good institutions facilitate complex transactions, specialization and flexibility while reducing transaction costs. Interestingly, we find that good institutions enhance technical change as well as efficiency change. Conveniently, the decomposition of TFP change also allows us to interpret the convergence issue, for which largely inconclusive evidence is obtained on the basis of a combined TFP measure. Our findings reveal that efficiency change is associated with convergence, i.e., countries with lower initial productivity realize higher productivity growth through catching up. By contrast, technical change corresponds to divergence, i.e., countries with higher initial productivity succeed in higher productivity growth through shifts of the technological frontier. One possible rationalization is that greater experience with technological innovation (i.e., a closer situation to the world technology frontier) benefits the implementation of new products and processes (i.e., the cost of additional innovations falls).

Suggested Citation

  • Laurens Cherchye & Wim Moesen, 2003. "Institutional Infrastructure and Economic Performance: Levels versus Catching Up and Frontier Shifts," Public Economics Working Paper Series ces0314, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën, Working Group Public Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpe:papers:ces0314
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Salinas-Jimenez, M del Mar & Salinas-Jimenez, Javier, 2007. "Corruption, efficiency and productivity in OECD countries," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 903-915.
    2. Maria Del Mar Salinas-Jimenez & Javier Salinas-Jimenez, 2006. "Corruption and Productivity Growth in OECD Countries," ERSA conference papers ersa06p99, European Regional Science Association.
    3. Ma Salinas-Jiménez & Javier Salinas-Jiménez, 2011. "Corruption and total factor productivity: level or growth effects?," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer;Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestao, vol. 10(2), pages 109-128, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    institutions; productivity measurement; convergence;

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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