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Neoclassical convergence versus technological catch-up: A contribution for reaching a consensus


  • Desdoigts, Alain


New macro empirical evidence is provided to assess the relative importance of object and idea gaps in explaining the world income distribution dynamics. Formal statistical hypothesis tests allow us to discriminate between two competing growthmodels: (i) the standard neoclassical growth model similar to that employed by Mankiw, Romer, and Weil (1992), (ii) an extension of the Nelson and Phelps' approach (1966) that emphasizes the importance of technology transfer in addition to factors accumulation. First, the latter model better characterizes international data at an aggregate level. It cannot be rejected as a null hypothesis and is significantly preferred to a standard neoclassical model. Second, robust to sample selection evidence suggests that the high social returns to investment in equipment (as opposed to structure) reflect technology transfer mediated through capital goods. Finally, technological catch-up mostly benefits socially advanced economies and largely contributes to the polarization of the world income distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Desdoigts, Alain, 2000. "Neoclassical convergence versus technological catch-up: A contribution for reaching a consensus," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2000,42, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:200042

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nehru, Vikram & Swanson, Eric & Dubey, Ashutosh, 1995. "A new database on human capital stock in developing and industrial countries: Sources, methodology, and results," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 379-401, April.
    2. Fagerberg, Jan, 1994. "Technology and International Differences in Growth Rates," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 1147-1175, September.
    3. Benhabib, Jess & Spiegel, Mark M., 1994. "The role of human capital in economic development evidence from aggregate cross-country data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 143-173, October.
    4. Fisher, Gordon R. & McAleer, Michael, 1981. "Alternative procedures and associated tests of significance for non-nested hypotheses," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 103-119, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cem Ertur & Wilfried Koch, 2006. "The Role of Human Capital and Technological Interdependence in Growth and Convergence Processes: International Evidence," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_029, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    2. Ewa Lechman, 2012. "Technology convergence and digital divides. A country-level evidence for the period 2000–2010," Ekonomia journal, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw, vol. 31.
    3. Sirimaneetham, Vatcharin & Temple, Jonathan, 2006. "Macroeconomic Policy and the Distribution of Growth Rates," CEPR Discussion Papers 5642, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Cem Ertur & W. Koch, 2006. "Convergence, Human Capital and International Spillovers," Post-Print halshs-00250303, HAL.
    5. Ewa, Lechman, 2012. "Cross national technology convergence. An empirical study for the period 2000-2010," MPRA Paper 37442, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Jérôme Vandenbussche & Philippe Aghion & Costas Meghir, 2006. "Growth, distance to frontier and composition of human capital," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 97-127, June.
    7. Philippe Aghion, 2004. "Growth and Development: A Schumpeterian Approach," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 5(1), pages 1-25, May.
    8. Wilfried Koch, 2005. "Neighborhood Effects In The Solow Model With Spatial Externalities," ERSA conference papers ersa05p723, European Regional Science Association.

    More about this item


    economic growth; neoclassical convergence; technological catch-up; income dynamics;

    JEL classification:

    • C12 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Hypothesis Testing: General
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General


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