nep-gro New Economics Papers
on Economic Growth
Issue of 2020‒11‒02
twelve papers chosen by
Marc Klemp
University of Copenhagen

  1. Religion in Economic History: A Survey By Sascha O. Becker; Jared Rubin; Ludger Woessmann
  2. Growth factors in developed countries: A 1960-2019 growth accounting decomposition By Gilbert Cette; Aurélien Devillard; Vincenzo Spiezia
  3. Reassessing the Resource Curse using Causal Machine Learning By Roland Hodler; Michael Lechner; Paul A. Raschky
  4. Are ‘Flow of Ideas’ and ‘Research Productivity’ in secular decline? By Peter Cauwels; Didier Sornette
  5. Money, Growth, and Welfare in a Schumpeterian Model with the Spirit of Capitalism By Qichun He; Yulei Luo; Jun Nie; Heng-fu Zou
  6. The Two Growth Rates of the Economy By , Stone Center; Adamou, Alexander; Berman, Yonatan; Peters, Ole
  7. Is sub-Saharan Africa deindustrializing? By Mensah, Emmanuel B.
  8. When does public debt impair economic growth? A literature review in search of a theory By Roberto Tamborini; Matteo Tomaselli
  9. Ageing Population and Economic Growth in Developing Countries A Quantile Regression Approach By Vo, Duc
  10. Renewable Energy Consumption-Economic Growth Nexus in G7 Countries: New Evidence from a Nonlinear ARDL Approach By Shahbaz, Muhammad; Khraief, Naceur; L. Czudaj, Robert
  11. India’s Export-Led Growth: Exemplar and Exception By Arvind Subramanian; Shoumitro Chatterjee
  12. The Evolutionary Origins of the Wealth of Nations By Quamrul H. Ashraf; Oded Galor; Marc P. B. Klemp

  1. By: Sascha O. Becker (University, University of Warwick; CAGE; CEPR, CESifo, IZA, and ROA); Jared Rubin (Rubin: Chapman University); Ludger Woessmann (University of Munich and ifo Institute; CESifo, IZA, and CAGE)
    Abstract: This chapter surveys the recent social science literature on religion in economic history, covering both socioeconomic causes and consequences of religion. Following the rapidly growing literature, it focuses on the three main monotheisms—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—and on the period up to WWII. Works on Judaism address Jewish occupational specialization, human capital, emancipation, and the causes and consequences of Jewish persecution. One set of papers on Christianity studies the role of the Catholic Church in European economic history since the medieval period. Taking advantage of newly digitized data and advanced econometric techniques, the voluminous literature on the Protestant Reformation studies its socioeconomic causes as well as its consequences for human capital, secularization, political change, technology diffusion, and social outcomes. Works on missionaries show that early access to Christian missions still has political, educational, and economic consequences in present-day Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Much of the economics of Islam focuses on the role that Islam and Islamic institutions played in political-economy outcomes and in the “long divergence” between the Middle East and Western Europe. Finally, cross-country analyses seek to understand the broader determinants of religious practice and its various effects across the world. We highlight three general insights that emerge from this literature. First, the monotheistic character of the Abrahamic religions facilitated a close historical interconnection of religion with political power and conflict. Second, human capital often played a leading role in the interconnection between religion and economic history. Third, many socioeconomic factors matter in the historical development of religions.
    Keywords: JEL Classification:
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Gilbert Cette (BDF - banque de france - Banque de France, AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Aurélien Devillard (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Vincenzo Spiezia (OECD - The Organisation for Economic Coopération and Development)
    Abstract: Using a new and original database, our paper contributes to the growth accounting literature with three original aspects: first, it covers a long period from the early 60's to 2019, just before the COVID-19 crisis; second, it analyses at the country level a large set of economies (30); finally, it singles out the growth contribution of ICTs but also of robots. The original database used in our analysis covers 30 developed countries and the Euro Area over a long period allowing to develop a growth accounting approach from 1960 to 2019. This database is built at the country level. Our growth accounting approach shows that the main drivers of labor productivity growth over the whole 1960-2019 period appear to be TFP, non-ICT and non-robot capital deepening, and education. The overall contribution of ICT capital is found to be small, although we do not estimate its effect on TFP. The contribution of robots to productivity growth through the two channels (capital deepening and TFP) appears to be significant in Germany and Japan in the sub-period 1975-1995, in France and Italy in 1995-2005, and in several Eastern European countries in 2005-2019. Our findings confirm also the slowdown in TFP in most countries from at least 1995 onwards. This slowdown is mainly explained by a decrease of the contributions of the components 'others' in the capital deepening and the TFP productivity channels.
    Keywords: Growth,Productivity,ICTs,Robots
    Date: 2020–10
  3. By: Roland Hodler (SoDa Laboratories, Monash University); Michael Lechner (SoDa Laboratories, Monash University); Paul A. Raschky (SoDa Laboratories, Monash University)
    Abstract: We reassess the effects of natural resources on economic development and conflict, applying a causal forest estimator and data from 3,800 Sub-Saharan African districts. We find that, on average, mining activities and higher world market prices of locally mined minerals both increase economic development and conflict. Consistent with the previous literature, mining activities have more positive effects on economic development and weaker effects on conflict in places with low ethnic diversity and high institutional quality. In contrast, the effects of changes in mineral prices vary little in ethnic diversity and institutional quality, but are non-linear and largest at relatively high prices.
    Keywords: resource curse, economic development, conflict, causal machine learning, Africa
    JEL: C21 O13 O55 Q34 R12
    Date: 2020–09
  4. By: Peter Cauwels (ETH Zürich; Director Quaerens CommV); Didier Sornette (ETH Zürich - Department of Management, Technology, and Economics (D-MTEC); Swiss Finance Institute; Southern University of Science and Technology; Tokyo Institute of Technology)
    Abstract: It is widely held true that fundamental scientific knowledge has been accelerating exponentially over the past centuries and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Moreover, endogenous growth theory postulates that this exponential accumulation of knowledge is the main source of the ubiquitous exponential economic growth. We test these claims by constructing two new series of knowledge indices, one representing the historical evolution of the Flow of Ideas, the other of the Research Productivity, for the time period between 1750 and 1988. Three different geographical regions are covered: 1) Continental Europe, 2) the United Kingdom, and 3) the United States; and two disciplines: a) the physical sciences, and b) the life sciences. Our main result is that scientific knowledge has been in clear secular decline since the early 1970s for the Flow of Ideas and since the early 1950s for the Research Productivity. We also observe waves coinciding with the three industrial and technological revolutions, in particular in the United Kingdom. Overall, our results support the Kuhnian theory of knowledge creation through scientific revolutions, punctuation and paradigm shifts and falsify the gradualism that lies at the basis of the currently prevailing economic paradigm of endogenous growth.
    Keywords: research productivity, knowledge accumulation, economic growth, endogenous growth, exponential growth, S-curve, technological progress, discovery, invention, innovation, scientific revolutions
    JEL: C80 H50 J24 O30 O31 O40 O50
    Date: 2020–10
  5. By: Qichun He (China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics); Yulei Luo (Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Hong Kong); Jun Nie (Research Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City); Heng-fu Zou (China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics)
    Abstract: According to Schumpeter (1934), entrepreneurs are driven to innovate not for the fruits of success but for success itself. This description of entrepreneurship echoes Weber's (1958 ) description of the "spirit of capitalism," which states that people enjoy the accumulation of wealth irrespective of its effect on smoothing consumption. This paper explores the implica- tions of the spirit of capitalism on monetary policy, growth, and welfare in a Schumpeterian growth model. Different from the existing literature, we show that money is not superneutral in the long run and it could promote economic growth when the spirit of capitalism is strong. Furthermore, we show the optimal nominal interest rate decreases with the strength of the spirit of capitalism, potentially supporting a negative interest rate. Finally, our calibrated model suggests that the spirit of capitalism explains an important share (about one-third) of long-run growth in the United States.
    Date: 2020
  6. By: , Stone Center (The Graduate Center/CUNY); Adamou, Alexander; Berman, Yonatan; Peters, Ole
    Abstract: Economic growth is measured as the rate of relative change in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Yet, when incomes follow random multiplicative growth, the ensemble-average (GDP per capita) growth rate is higher than the time-average growth rate achieved by each individual in the long run. This mathematical fact is the starting point of ergodicity economics. Using the atypically high ensemble-average growth rate as the principal growth measure creates an incomplete picture. Policymaking would be better informed by reporting both ensemble-average and time-average growth rates. We analyse rigorously these growth rates and describe their evolution in the United States and France over the last fifty years. The difference between the two growth rates gives rise to a natural measure of income inequality, equal to the mean logarithmic deviation. Despite being estimated as the average of individual income growth rates, the time-average growth rate is independent of income mobility. (Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality Working Paper)
    Date: 2020–10–16
  7. By: Mensah, Emmanuel B. (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: There is a general view that Africa is deindustrializing. We examine the extent to which the existing result is sensitive to sample size and new sectoral indicators. In addition to the usual linear fixed effect model, we use nonlinear panel data method that recognizes the fractional nature of manufacturing share of employment and output. We do not find convincing and robust evidence in support of the general view that Africa is deindustrializing prematurely. Manufacturing employment shares do not follow an inverse U-shape relationship. Conditional on income, population, and country-specific fixed effects, manufacturing output shares show positive and statistically significant trends over time. When we increase the coverage of countries to almost all countries in Africa, the results suggest that Africa is not deindustrializing, although there has not been any significant industrial development since the 1970s. This result masks important regional differences. A sub-regional analysis shows that East Africa is industrializing, whereas Southern Africa is the only region that seems to be deindustrializing. We examine the underlying drivers of manufacturing performance and discuss the implication for data collection and industrial policy in Africa.
    Keywords: Africa, de-industrialization, industrialization, industrial development, manufacturing, economic growth
    JEL: O14 O55
    Date: 2020–10–09
  8. By: Roberto Tamborini; Matteo Tomaselli
    Abstract: Beyond inconclusive empirical research, this paper examines the theoretical literature concerning public debt and economic growth finding no univocal and straightforward answer. No meaningful assessment of debt and its effect on growth at any point in time is possible without reference to the whole debt trajectory and the specific state of the economy along the trajectory. An orderly and consistent analysis may be developed along two coordinates of debt assessment: sustainability/ unsustainability, and efficiency/inefficiency. In our view, research should concentrate on the study of specific conditions and cases, and abandon the pursuit of a general law.
    Keywords: Public debt, Debt burden, Debt sustainability, Economic growth, Endogenous growth models
    JEL: E62 H63 O40
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Vo, Duc
    Abstract: The economic effects and consequences of an aging population on economic growth in terms of productivity and demand have attracted great attention from policy makers, particular in emerging countries. This study examines the effect of an aging population on economic growth in 84 developing countries in the period 1971–2015, using panel fixed effects and quantile regression. The results confirm a negative effect on economic growth in the long run from having a high share of young people (14 years old and younger). However, in the long run, a positive relationship exists between the share of those 65 and older and economic performance. The quantile regression results confirm the importance of an aging population on economic growth at most percentiles. However, from lower to higher percentiles, the estimated magnitudes differ
    Keywords: Aging population; developing countries; quantile regression
    JEL: J10 O11
    Date: 2019–12–18
  10. By: Shahbaz, Muhammad; Khraief, Naceur; L. Czudaj, Robert
    Abstract: The paper investigates the nonlinear pass-through from economic growth to renewable energy consumptionby applying a Nonlinear Auto-Regressive Distributed Lag model (NARDL) for G7 countries. This study covers the period of 1995Q1-2015Q4. The recent approach allows for empirical tests of short-run and long-run asymmetric responses of renewable energy consumption to positive and negative shocks stemming from economic growth. The results reveal that renewable energy consumption responds asymmetrically to economic growth in the long-run for France, Japan, Italy and the UK. However, we find no evidence for a long-run equilibrium between renewable energy consumption and economic growth in Germany, Canada and the US.
    Keywords: Renewable Energy Consumption, Economic Growth, Nonlinear ARDL
    JEL: Q2
    Date: 2020–10–03
  11. By: Arvind Subramanian (Ashoka University); Shoumitro Chatterjee (Pennsylvania State University)
    Abstract: Two new facts motivate this long-run assessment of India’s exports and growth. First, since the early 1990s, India has posted the world’s third-highest growth rate in overall and manufacturing exports, which has been critical to India’s overall growth performance. Contrary to perception, India has been an exemplar of the export-led growth model. Second, this aggregate performance has, however, co-existed with an underperformance in unskilled manufacturing exports. This has resulted in at least $140 billion in “missing†unskilled economic activity annually. A cross-country gravity perspective suggests that India is a “normal†exporter and importer of goods and services, but an under-exporter of manufacturing goods. Going forward, India’s unusual, endowment-defying specialization could limit export dynamism. Having not traversed them Lewis curve for unskilled manufacturing, the curve for skilled exports is threatening to turn up as skilled labor becomes scarce.
    Keywords: Globalization, Exports, Economic Development
    Date: 2020–10
  12. By: Quamrul H. Ashraf; Oded Galor; Marc P. B. Klemp
    Abstract: This essay explores the deepest roots of comparative economic development. It underscores the significance of evolutionary processes since the Neolithic Revolution in shaping a society’s endowment of fundamental traits, such as predisposition towards child quality, time preference, loss aversion, and entrepreneurial spirit, that have contributed to differential paths of technological progress, human-capital formation, and economic development across societies. Moreover, it highlights the indelible mark of the exodus of Homo sapiens from Africa tens of thousands of years ago on the degree of interpersonal population diversity across the globe and examines the impact of this variation in diversity for comparative economic, cultural, and institutional development across countries, regions, and ethnic groups.
    Keywords: comparative development, human evolution, natural selection, preference for child quality, time preference, loss aversion, entrepreneurial spirit, the “out of Africa” hypothesis, interpersonal diversity
    JEL: O11 N10 N30 Z10
    Date: 2020

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