Sources of economic growth

Robert J. Barro, Jong-Wha Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

345 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

For 116 countries from 1965 to 1985, the lowest quintile had an average growth rate of real per capita GDP of - 1.3%, whereas the highest quintile had an average of 4.8%. We isolate five influences that discriminate reasonably well between the slow-and fast-growers: a conditional convergence effect, whereby a country grows faster if it begins with lower real per-capita GDP relative to its initial level of human capital in the forms of educational attainment and health; a positive effect on growth from a high ratio of investment to GDP (although this effect is weaker than that reported in some previous studies); a negative effect from overly large government; a negative effect from government-induced distortions of markets; and a negative effect from political instability. Overall, the fifted growth rates for 85 countries for 1965-1985 had a correlation of 0.8 with the actual values. We also find that female educational attainment has a pronounced negative effect on fertility, whereas female and male attainment are each positively related to life expectancy and negatively related to infant mortality. Male attainment plays a positive role in primary-school enrollment ratios, and male and female attainment relate positively to enrollment at the secondary level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-46
Number of pages46
JournalCarnegie-Rochester Confer. Series on Public Policy
Volume40
Issue numberC
Publication statusPublished - 1994 Jun 1

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Economic growth
Educational attainment
Government
Per capita GDP
Human capital
Conditional convergence
Primary school
Life expectancy
School enrollment
Infant mortality
Fertility
Political instability
Health
Enrollment

Cite this

Sources of economic growth. / Barro, Robert J.; Lee, Jong-Wha.

In: Carnegie-Rochester Confer. Series on Public Policy, Vol. 40, No. C, 01.06.1994, p. 1-46.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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