Research Topics

Publications on Growth

There are 15 publications for Growth.
  • Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren—90 Years Later


    Working Paper No. 1038 | January 2024
    This paper revisits Keynes’s (1930) essay titled “The economic possibilities for our grandchildren.” We discuss the three broader trends identified by Keynes that he expected would come to characterize the socio-economic evolution of advanced countries under individualistic capitalism: first, continued technological progress and capital accumulation as the main drivers of exponential growth in economic possibilities; second, a gradual general rebalancing of life choices away from work; and third, a change in the code of morals in societies approaching an envisioned stationary state of zero net capital accumulation in which mankind has solved its economic problem and enjoys a lifestyle predominantly framed by leisure rather than disutility-yielding work. We assess actual outcomes by 2023 and attempt to peek into the future economic possibilities for this generation’s grandchildren.

  • Is Anything Left of the Debate about the Sources of Growth in East Asia Thirty Years Later?


    Working Paper No. 1029 | September 2023
    The year 2023 commemorates the 30th anniversary of the publication of the influential, yet controversial, study The East Asian Miracle report by the World Bank (1993). An important part of the report’s analysis was concerned with the sources of growth in East Asia. This was based on the neoclassical decomposition of growth into productivity and factor accumulation. At about the same time, the publication of Alwyn Young’s (1992, 1995) and J. I. Kim and Lawrence Lau’s (1994) studies, and Paul Krugman’s (1994) popularization of the “zero total factor productivity growth” thesis, led to a very important debate within the profession, on the sources of growth in East Asia. The emerging literature on China’s growth during the 1990s also used the neoclassical growth model to decompose overall growth into total factor productivity growth and factor accumulation. This survey reviews what the profession has learned during the last 30 years about East Asia’s growth, using growth-accounting exercises and estimations of production functions. It demystifies this literature by pointing out the significant methodological problems inherent in the neoclassical growth-accounting approach. We conclude that the analysis of growth within the framework of the neoclassical model should be seriously questioned. Instead, we propose that researchers look at other approaches, for example, the balance-of-payments–constrained growth rate approach of Thirlwall (1979) or the product space of Hidalgo et al. (2007), together with the notion of complexity of Hidalgo and Hausmann (2009).
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    Author(s):
    Jesus Felipe John McCombie

  • Estimating a Time-Varying Distribution-Led Regime


    Working Paper No. 1001 | February 2022
    This paper estimates the distribution-led regime of the US economy for the period 1947–2019. We use a time varying parameter model, which allows for changes in the regime over time. To the best of our knowledge this is the first paper that has attempted to do this. This innovation is important, because there is no reason to expect that the regime of the US economy (or any economy for that matter) remains constant over time. On the contrary, there are significant reasons that point to changes in the regime. We find that the US economy became more profit-led in the first postwar decades until the 1970s and has become less profit-led since; it is slightly wage-led over the last fifteen years.

  • The Endogeneity-to-Demand of the National Emergency Utilization Rate


    Working Paper No. 989 | June 2021
    The paper provides an empirical discussion of the national emergency utilization rate (NEUR), which is based on a “national emergency” definition of potential output and is published by the US Census Bureau. Over the peak-to-peak period 1989–2019, the NEUR decreased by 14.2 percent. The paper examines the trajectory of potential determinants of capacity utilization over the same period as specified in the related theory, namely: capital intensity, relative prices of labor and capital, shift differentials, rhythmic variations in demand, industry concentration, and aggregate demand. It shows that most of them have moved in a direction that would lead to an increase in utilization. The main factor that can explain the decrease in the NEUR is aggregate demand, while the increase in industry concentration might have also played a small role.

  • Notes on the Accumulation and Utilization of Capital


    Working Paper No. 953 | April 2020
    Some Empirical Issues
    The paper makes three contributions. First, following up on Nikiforos (2016), it provides an in-depth examination of the Federal Reserve measure of capacity utilization and shows that it is closer to a cyclical indicator than a measure of long run variations of normal utilization. Other measures, such as the average workweek of capital or the national emergency utilization rate are more appropriate for examining long-run changes in utilization. Second, and related to that, it argues that a relatively stationary measure of utilization is not consistent with any theory of the determination of utilization. Third, based on data on the lifetime of fixed assets it shows that for the issues around the “utilization controversy” the long run is a period after thirty years or more. This makes it a Platonic Idea for some economic problems.

  • Notes on the Accumulation and Utilization of Capital


    Working Paper No. 952 | April 2020
    Some Theoretical Issues
    This paper discusses some issues related to the triangle between capital accumulation, distribution, and capacity utilization. First, it explains why utilization is a crucial variable for the various theories of growth and distribution—more precisely, with regards to their ability to combine an autonomous role for demand (along Keynesian lines) and an institutionally determined distribution (along classical lines). Second, it responds to some recent criticism by Girardi and Pariboni (2019). I explain that their interpretation of the model in Nikiforos (2013) is misguided, and that the results of the model can be extended to the case of a monopolist. Third, it provides some concrete examples of why demand is a determinant for the long-run rate of utilization of capital. Finally, it argues that when it comes to the normal rate of utilization, it is the expected growth rate of demand that matters, not the level of demand.

  • Some Comments on the Sraffian Supermultiplier Approach to Growth and Distribution


    Working Paper No. 907 | May 2018
    The paper discusses the Sraffian supermultiplier (SSM) approach to growth and distribution. It makes five points. First, in the short run the role of autonomous expenditure can be appreciated within a standard post-Keynesian framework (Kaleckian, Kaldorian, Robinsonian, etc.). Second, and related to the first, the SSM model is a model of the long run and has to be evaluated as such. Third, in the long run, one way that capacity adjusts to demand is through an endogenous adjustment of the rate of utilization. Fourth, the SSM model is a peculiar way to reach what Garegnani called the “Second Keynesian Position.” Although it respects the letter of the “Keynesian hypothesis,” it makes investment quasi-endogenous and subjects it to the growth of autonomous expenditure. Fifth, in the long run it is unlikely that “autonomous expenditure” is really autonomous. From a stock-flow consistent point of view, this implies unrealistic adjustments after periods of changes in stock-flow ratios. Moreover, if we were to take this kind of adjustment at face value, there would be no space for Minskyan financial cycles. This also creates serious problems for the empirical validation of the model.

  • Fiscal Policy, Economic Growth and Innovation


    Working Paper No. 883 | February 2017
    An Empirical Analysis of G20 Countries

    This paper analyzes the effectiveness of public expenditures on economic growth within the analytical framework of comprehensive Neo-Schumpeterian economics. Using a fixed-effects model for G20 countries, the paper investigates the links between the specific categories of public expenditures and economic growth, captured in human capital formation, defense, infrastructure development, and technological innovation. The results reveal that the impact of innovation-related spending on economic growth is much higher than that of the other macro variables. Data for the study was drawn from the International Monetary Fund’s Government Finance Statistics database, infrastructure reports for the G20 countries, and the World Development Indicators issued by the World Bank.

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    Author(s):
    Horst Hanusch Lekha S. Chakraborty Swati Khurana

  • The Two Approaches to Money


    Working Paper No. 855 | November 2015
    Debt, Central Banks, and Functional Finance

    The scientific reassessment of the economic role of the state after the crisis has renewed interest in Abba Lerner’s theory of functional finance (FF). A thorough discussion of this concept is helpful in reconsidering the debate on the nature of money and the origin of the business cycle and crises. It also allows a reevaluation of many policy issues, such as the Barro–Ricardo equivalence, the cause of inflation, and the role of monetary policy.

    FF, throwing a different light on these issues, can provide a sound foundation for discussing income, fiscal, and monetary policy rules in the right context of flexibility in the management of national budgets, assessing what kind of policies should be awarded priority, and the effectiveness of tackling the crisis with the different part of public budget. It also allows us to understand ways of increasing efficiency through public investment while reducing the total operational costs of firms. In the specific context of the eurozone, FF is useful for assessing the institutional framework of the euro and how to improve it in the face of protracted low growth, deflation, and weak public finances.

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    Author(s):
    Giuseppe Mastromatteo Lorenzo Esposito

  • The Effects of a Euro Exit on Growth, Employment, and Wages


    Working Paper No. 840 | July 2015

    A technical analysis shows that the doomsayers who support the euro at all costs and those who naively theorize that a single currency is the root of all evil are both wrong. A euro exit could be a way of getting back to growth, but at the same time it would entail serious risks, especially for wage earners. The most important lesson we can learn from the experience of the past is that the outcome, in terms of growth, distribution, and employment, depends on how a country remains in the euro; or, in the case of a euro exit, on the quality of the economic policies that are put in place once the country regains control of monetary and fiscal matters, rather than on abandoning the old exchange system as such. It all depends on how a country stays in the eurozone, or on how it leaves if need be.

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    Author(s):
    Riccardo Realfonzo Angelantonio Viscione

  • A Simple Model of Income, Aggregate Demand, and the Process of Credit Creation by Private Banks


    Working Paper No. 777 | October 2013

    This paper presents a small macroeconomic model describing the main mechanisms of the process of credit creation by the private banking system. The model is composed of a core unit—where the dynamics of income, credit, and aggregate demand are determined—and a set of sectoral accounts that ensure its stock-flow consistency. In order to grasp the role of credit and banks in the functioning of the economic system, we make an explicit distinction between planned and realized variables, thanks to which, while maintaining the ex-post accounting consistency, we are able to introduce an ex-ante wedge between current aggregate income and planned expenditure. Private banks are the only economic agents capable of filling this gap through the creation of new credit. Through the use of numerical simulation, we discuss the link between credit creation and the expansion of economic activity, also contributing to a recent academic debate on the relation between income, debt, and aggregate demand.

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    Author(s):
    Giovanni Bernardo Emanuele Campiglio

  • The Economics of Inclusion


    Working Paper No. 755 | February 2013
    Building an Argument for a Shared Society

    This paper presents a review of the literature on the economics of shared societies. As defined by the Club de Madrid, shared societies are societies in which people hold an equal capacity to participate in and benefit from economic, political, and social opportunities regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, language, gender, or other attributes, and where, as a consequence, relationships between the groups are peaceful. Our review centers on four themes around which economic research addresses concepts outlined by the Club de Madrid: the effects of trust and social cohesion on growth and output, the effect of institutions on development, the costs of fractionalization, and research on the policies of social inclusion around the world.

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    Author(s):
    Michael A. Valenti Olivier Giovannoni

  • Distribution and Growth


    Working Paper No. 697 | November 2011
    A Dynamic Kaleckian Approach

    This paper studies the effects of an (exogenous) increase of nominal wages on profits, output, and growth. Inspired by an article by Michał Kalecki (1991), who concentrated on the effects on total profits, the paper develops a model that explicitly considers the dynamics of demand, prices, profits, and investment. The outcomes of the initial wage rise are found to be path dependent and crucially affected by the firms’ initial response to an increase in demand and a decrease in profit margins. The present model, which relates to other Post Keynesian/Kaleckian contributions, can offer an alternative to the mainstream approach to analyzing the effects of wage increases.

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    Author(s):
    Fabrizio Patriarca Claudio Sardoni

  • Modeling Technological Progress and Investment in China


    Working Paper No. 643 | December 2010
    Some Caveats

    Since the early 1990s, the number of papers estimating econometric models and using other quantitative techniques to try to understand different aspects of the Chinese economy has mushroomed. A common feature of some of these studies is the use of neoclassical theory as the underpinning for the empirical implementations. It is often assumed that factor markets are competitive, that firms are profit maximizers, and that these firms respond to the same incentives that firms in market economies do. Many researchers find that the Chinese economy can be well explained using the tools of neoclassical theory. In this paper, we (1) review two examples of estimation of the rate of technical progress, and (2) discuss one attempt at modeling investment. We identify their shortcomings and the problems with the alleged policy implications derived. We show that econometric estimation of neoclassical models may result in apparently sensible results for misinformed reasons. We conclude that modeling the Chinese economy requires a deeper understanding of its inner workings as both a transitional and a developing economy.

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    Author(s):
    Jesus Felipe John McCombie

  • Using Capabilities to Project Growth, 2010–30


    Working Paper No. 609 | August 2010
    We forecast average annual GDP growth for 147 countries for 2010–30. We use a cross-country regression model where the long-run fundamentals are determined by countries’ accumulated capabilities and the capacity to undergo structural transformation.
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    Author(s):
    Jesus Felipe Utsav Kumar Arnelyn Abdon

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