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The Role of Total Factor Productivity Growth in Middle-Income Countries

Jungsuk Kim and Jungsoo Park ()

Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, 2018, vol. 54, issue 6, 1264-1284

Abstract: We examine the importance of total factor productivity (TFP) growth in middle-income countries (MICs) based on cross-country panel data for the period of 1975–2014. We find that TFP growth contributed significantly to a country’s upward transition from middle-income to high-income country group. The TFP growth model reveals that the catch-up effect, human capital, smaller population, weak currency, and research and development growth are significant sources of TFP growth. We do not find a systematic difference in the TFP growth models for MICs. In analyzing the role of factors influencing TFP growth at different income stages, strengthening innovative activities and building innovative capacities are important in overcoming the challenges that MICs face when transitioning to the high-income group. Governments of upper MICs need to initiate reform to motivate innovation by optimizing national R&D systems, and redesigning the educational system to target promoting innovation.

Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1080/1540496X.2017.1422244

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