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Going up and down: rethinking the empirics of growth in the developing and newly industrialized world

Francesco Lamperti () and Clara Elisabetta Mattei ()
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Francesco Lamperti: Institute of Economics and Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei
Clara Elisabetta Mattei: New School for Social Research and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna

Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 2018, vol. 28, issue 4, 749-784

Abstract: Abstract Growth dynamics are remarkably heterogeneous, in particular when one focuses on developing countries. Economic miracles and failures are embedded within extended phases of either growth or decline. In this paper, we analyze the growth patterns of developing and newly industrialized countries on the basis of structural breaks and growth regimes experienced. Emphasizing the presence of broken trends, we focus on the difference between expansionary and recessionary regimes of medium length, and we show that models of takeoffs and exponential growth are inadequate to characterize the majority of observed growth dynamics. Then, we move to a systematic classification of different patterns and we isolate an additional stylized fact characterizing the process of growth and development. In particular, our results show that expansionary regimes are associated with convergence and positive correlation between growth and (short run) volatility. By contrast, in recessionary regimes, poorer countries face deeper failures and a negative correlation between growth and volatility is found, indicating that output fluctuates less around the trend during strong rather than mild recessions. Catching-up phenomena are infrequent but more likely to occur across categories of growth patterns rather than within. Finally, we discover that regimes of growth and recession show similar average length (about 16 years). Although recessions are, on average, remarkably pronounced (14% loss of GDP per capita), the magnitude of growth is much larger during expansions. In sum, our results underline that stable positive growth is hardly achieved in developing countries, which rather alternate long phases of expansions with equally long phases of recession. Moreover, cross-sectional empirical regularities are found to differ between regimes of positive and negative growth.

Keywords: Growth; Structural breaks; Expansionary and recessionary regimes; Convergence (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O11 O40 O47 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:28:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s00191-018-0551-y