When Does Domestic Saving Matter for Economic Growth?

46 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2006 Last revised: 18 Jul 2010

See all articles by Philippe Aghion

Philippe Aghion

College de France and London School of Economics and Political Science, Fellow; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Diego Comin

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Peter Howitt

Brown University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2006

Abstract

Can a country grow faster by saving more? We address this question both theoretically and empirically. In our model, growth results from innovations that allow local sectors to catch up with the frontier technology. In relatively poor countries, catching up with the frontier requires the involvement of a foreign investor, who is familiar with the frontier technology, together with effort on the part of a local bank, who can directly monitor local projects to which the technology must be adapted. In such a country, local saving matters for innovation, and therefore growth, because it allows the domestic bank to cofinance projects and thus to attract foreign investment. But in countries close to the frontier, local firms are familiar with the frontier technology, and therefore do not need to attract foreign investment to undertake an innovation project, so local saving does not matter for growth. In our empirical exploration we show that lagged savings is significantly associated with productivity growth for poor but not for rich countries. This effect operates entirely through TFP rather than through capital accumulation. Further, we show that savings is significantly associated with higher levels of FDI inflows and equipment imports and that the effect that these have on growth is significantly larger for poor countries than rich.

Suggested Citation

Aghion, Philippe and Comin, Diego and Howitt, Peter, When Does Domestic Saving Matter for Economic Growth? (June 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12275. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=906753

Philippe Aghion (Contact Author)

College de France and London School of Economics and Political Science, Fellow ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Diego Comin

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10011
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Peter Howitt

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

Box B
Providence, RI 02912
United States
401-863-2145 (Phone)
401-863-1970 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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