It's Not Factor Accumulation: Stylized Facts and Growth Models

60 Pages Posted: 25 May 2001

See all articles by William Easterly

William Easterly

New York University - Department of Economics

Ross Levine

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: March 2001

Abstract

We document five stylized facts of economic growth. (1) The "residual" rather than factor accumulation accounts for most of the income and growth differences across nations. (2) Income diverges over the long run. (3) Factor accumulation is persistent while growth is not persistent and the growth path of countries exhibits remarkable variation across countries. (4) Economic activity is highly concentrated, with all factors of production flowing to the richest areas. (5) National policies closely associated with long-run economic growth rates. We argue that these facts do not support models with diminishing returns, constant returns to scale, some fixed factor of production, and that highlight the role of factor accumulation. Empirical work, however, does not yet decisively distinguish among the different theoretical conceptions of "total factor productivity growth." Economists should devote more effort towards modeling and quantifying total factor productivity.

Keywords: Economic Growth, Factor Accumulation, Total Factor Productivity, Increasing Returns

JEL Classification: O1, O4, O5

Suggested Citation

Easterly, William and Levine, Ross Eric, It's Not Factor Accumulation: Stylized Facts and Growth Models (March 2001). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=269108 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.269108

William Easterly (Contact Author)

New York University - Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

Ross Eric Levine

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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