Economic Growth and Institutions: Some Sensitivity Analyses, 1961–2000

Posted: 19 Jun 2019

Date Written: 2004


Do institutions help explain macroeconomic performance? This article addresses two issues. First, especially given the practical implications of the literature, measurement of institutions should avoid tautologies, and therefore this study uses econometrics to estimate the effect of objectively measurable institutions such as labor market organization, financial development, fiscal federalism, and political regime-type. Second, the growing literature on these promising factors, in turn, is unfortunately incommensurable because previous studies fail to control for other institutional and, in some cases, standard economic variables. Given data on up to ninety-four countries from 1961 through 2000, extreme-bound analysis (EBA), an econometric technique that addresses the sensitivity of previous findings to alternative assumptions about model specification, suggests that some institutions associated with the organization of labor and capital are robust correlates of investment. Few data support the view that variables related to the organization of the state, including fiscal federalism and political regime-type, affect macroeconomic performance.

Suggested Citation

Durham, J. Benson, Economic Growth and Institutions: Some Sensitivity Analyses, 1961–2000 (2004). International Organization, Vol. 58, No. 3, 2004. Available at SSRN:

J. Benson Durham (Contact Author)

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