Abstract

We study the effects of trade orientation and human capital on total factor productivity for a pooled cross-section, time-series sample of developed and developing countries. We first estimate total factor productivity from a parsimonious specification of the aggregate production function involving output per worker, capital per worker, and the labor force, both with and without the stock of human capital. Then we consider a number of potential determinants of total factor productivity growth including several measures of trade orientation as well as a measure of human capital. We find that a high degree of openness benefits total factor productivity and that human capital contributes to total factor productivity only after our measure of openness passes some threshold level. Before that threshold, increases in human capital actually depress total factor productivity. Finally, we also consider the issue of convergence of real GDP per worker and total factor productivity, finding more evidence of convergence for the latter than for the former.

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