Abstract

Do openness and human capital accumulation promote economic growth? While intuition argues yes, the existing empirical evidence provides mixed support for such assertions. We examine Cobb-Douglas production function specifications for a 30-year panel of 83 countries representing all regions of the world and all income groups. We estimate and compare labor and capital elasticities of output per worker across each of several income and geographic groups, finding significant differences in production technology. Then we estimate the total factor productivity series for each classification. Using determinants of total factor productivity that include, among many others, human capital, openness, and distortion of domestic prices relative to world prices, we find significant differences in results between the overall sample and sub-samples of countries. In particular, a policy of outward orientation may or may not promote growth in specific country groups. even if geared to reducing price distortion and increasing openness. Human capital plays a smaller role in enhancing growth through total factor productivity.

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