What Do We Know About Economic Growth? Or, Why Don't We Know Very Much?

Posted: 11 Jun 2001

See all articles by Charles Kenny

Charles Kenny

World Bank - Information and Communications Technologies Department (ICT)

David Williams

University of Oxford - Department of Statistics

Abstract

The last 10 years has seen an explosion in cross country econometric studies of growth, driven by two factors---new mathematical models of the growth process that lend themselves to econometric testing, and new data sets that make such testing possible. This paper looks at a selective review of these studies. It concludes that the results are disappointing in that no model has proven robust to trial by repeated regression. The paper suggests some reasons for this---including that the tested models tend to be ahistorical and over-simple in terms of their causal accounts. It concludes with possible lessons for econometric work in this area.

Keyword(s): economic growth, theory, cross country regressions

Suggested Citation

Kenny, Charles and Williams, David, What Do We Know About Economic Growth? Or, Why Don't We Know Very Much?. World Development, Vol. 29, No. 1, January 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=252797

Charles Kenny (Contact Author)

World Bank - Information and Communications Technologies Department (ICT) ( email )

Strategy Unit
2121 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20433

David Williams

University of Oxford - Department of Statistics ( email )

1 South Parks Road
Oxford OX1 3TG
United Kingdom

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