This paper uses yearly panel data on OECD countries to analyze the relationship between growth and the cyclicality of government debt. We develop new time-varying estimates of the cyclicality of public debt. Our main findings can be summarized as follows: (i) less procyclical public debt growth can have significantly positive effects on productivity growth, in particular when financial development is lower; (ii) public debt growth has become increasingly countercyclical in most OECD countries over the past twenty years, but this trend has been less pronounced in the EMU; (iii) less financially developed or more open economies display less countercyclical public debt growth.
We examine the contribution of human capital to economy-wide technological improvements through the two channels of innovation and imitation. We develop a theoretical model showing that skilled labor has a higher growth-enhancing effect closer to the technological frontier under the reasonable assumption that innovation is a relatively more skill-intensive activity than imitation. Also, we provide evidence in favor of this prediction using a panel dataset covering 19 OECD countries between 1960 and 2000 and explain why previous empirical research had found no positive relationship between initial schooling level and subsequent growth in rich countries. In particular, we show that in OECD economies it is crucial to isolate the two separate margins of primary/secondary and tertiary education. Interestingly, the latter type of schooling proves to be a factor of economic divergence.
How does firm entry affect innovation incentives and productivity growth in incumbent firms? Micro-data suggests that there is heterogeneity across industries - incumbents in technologically advanced industries react positively to foreign firm entry, but not in laggard industries. To explain this pattern, we introduce entry into a Schumpeterian growth model with multiple sectors which differ by their distance to the technological frontier. We show that technologically advanced entry threat spurs innovation incentives in sectors close to the technological frontier - successful innovation allows incumbents to prevent entry. In laggard sectors it discourages innovation - increased entry threat reduces incumbents' expected rents from innovating. We find that the empirical patterns hold using rich micro-level productivity growth and patent panel data for the UK, and controlling for the endogeneity of entry by exploiting the large number of policy reforms undertaken during the Thatcher era.
This paper offers empirical evidence that real exchange rate volatility can have a significant impact on long-term rate of productivity growth, but the effect depends critically on a country's level of Önancial development. For countries with relatively low levels of financial development, exchange rate volatility generally reduces growth, whereas for Önancially advanced countries, there is no significant effect. Our empirical analysis is based on an 83 country data set spanning the years 1960-2000; our results appear robust to time window, alternative measures of Önancial development and exchange rate volatility, and outliers. We also o§er a simple monetary growth model in which real exchange rate uncertainty exacerbates the negative investment effects of domestic credit market constraints. Our approach delivers results that are in striking contrast to the vast existing empirical exchange rate literature, which largely Önds the effects of exchange rate volatility on real activity to be relatively small and insignificant.
We examine how credit constraints affect the cyclical behavior of productivity-enhancing investment and thereby volatility and growth. We first develop a simple growth model where firms engage in two types of investment: a short-term one and a long-term productivity-enhancing one. Because it takes longer to complete, long-term investment has a relatively less procyclical return but also a higher liquidity risk. Under complete financial markets, long-term investment is countercyclical, thus mitigating volatility. But when firms face tight credit constraints, long-term investment turns procyclical, thus amplifying volatility. Tighter credit therefore leads to both higher aggregate volatility and lower mean growth for a given total investment rate. We next confront the model with a panel of countries over the period 1960-2000 and find that a lower degree of financial development predicts a higher sensitivity of both the composition of investment and mean growth to exogenous shocks, as well as a stronger negative effect of volatility on growth.
Political institutions influence economic policy, but they are themselves endogenous since they are chosen, in some way, by members of the polity. An important aspect of institutional design is how much society chooses to delegate unchecked power to its leaders. If, once elected, a leader cannot be restrained, society runs the risk of a tyranny of the majority if not the tyranny of a dictator. If a leader faces too many ex post checks and balances, legislative action is too often blocked. As our critical constitutional choice we focus upon the size of the minority needed to block legislation, or conversely the size of the (super)majority needed to govern. We analyze both “optimal” constitutional design and ”positive” aspects of this process. We derive several empirical implications which we then discuss.
Industrial delicensing which began in 1985 in India marked a discrete break from a past of centrally planned industrial development. Similar liberalization episodes are taking place across the globe. We develop a simple Schumpeterian growth model to understand how Örms respond to the entry threat imposed by liberalization. The model emphasises that Örm responses, even within the same industrial sector, are likely to be heterogeneous leading to an increase in within industry inequality. Technologically advanced Örms and those located in regions with pro-business institutions are more likely to respond to the threat of entry by investing in new technologies and production processes. Empirical analysis using a panel of 3-digit state-industry data from India for the period 1980-1997 conÖrms that delicensing led to an increase in within industry inequality in industrial performance.