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书评(上):巴罗的《经济增长的决定因素》  

2009-04-21 22:11:52|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Book Reviews

《经济增长的决定因素》书评(一)


Stephen Knack [著]

 

Determinants of Economic Growth By Robert Barro. Cambridge, MA:MIT Press, 1997. Pp. xii, 145. $22.50.

 

This volume encompasses three essays onthe empirical determinants of economic growth. These essays are based onBarro's Lionel Robbins Memorial Lectures, delivered at the London School ofEconomics in February 1996, during a year he spent at the Bank of England onleave from Harvard.

这本书包括三篇论文,讨论的是经济增长的实证性决定因素。这些论文,都是基于巴罗教授的LionelRobbins Memoria讲座。在19961月,他在伦敦经济学院发布的,那一年,他不在哈佛,而在苏格兰银行。

 

Having long since established himself as one of the world'sleading macroeconomic theoreticians, Barro also has become the leadingempiricist in the cross-country growth literature. The first essay in thisvolume is a broad overview of the empirical correlates of growth; it is thelatest in a series of works building on his 1991 Quarterly Journal of Economicsarticle, a standard reference in the field. The second essay focuses on therelationship of democracy to growth, finding a curvilinear pattern by whichintermediate levels of civil liberties and political rights appear mostfavorable to growth. The third essay examines inflation's association withgrowth, finding that levels exceeding 20% impair growth.

巴罗教授,在很久之前,就已经是全球首屈一指的宏观理论家了。他也是国家间增长理论上领先的实证经济学家。第一篇文章,是对增长的实证相关性,做了一个广阔的概览。在1991年的QJE上,他发表了一系列的研究,这是最新的一篇,是这个领域中指标性的文献。第二篇文章,侧重于“民主与经济的关系”,他发现了一种曲线关系,民众的自由和政治权的中等水平,最有利于经济增长。第三篇论文研究了通胀与增长的关系,他发现:通胀超过20%时,会妨碍增长。

 

In the first essay, Barro finds evidence of convergence inper capita incomes, conditional on human capital levels. Growth is positivelycorrelated with initial values for male educational attainment and with lifeexpectancy and negatively correlated with fertility rates. Growth is sensitiveto economic policies, increasing with a subjective index of property rights anddecreasing with government consumption expenditures. Favorable terms-of-tradeshifts increase growth. Most prominently omitted by Barro, among variablesoften shown in this literature to be strongly related to growth, are the tradeintensity ratio and the black market premium.

在第一篇文章中,巴罗教授发现了在保护人力资本水平不变的情况下,存在人均收入的趋同的证据。男性教育成就和寿命期望,与增长是正相关的;生育率与增长是负相关的。增长与经济政策敏感,随着产权的“主观指数”而增长;随着政府消费支出而降低。好的“贸易方式”转变,会促进增长。巴罗教授最大的忽略,就是贸易强度比率(tradeintensity ratio)和黑市溢价(the black market premium)。在这篇文献中,他讲了很多与增长具有密切关系的变量,但是,这两个变量被忽略了。

 

The rate of convergence estimated by Barro is 2.5% per year,meaning that it would take 27 years to close half the gap between current andsteady-state output levels and 89 years to close 90% of the gap. This 2.5%estimate is strikingly similar to convergence rates Barro has elsewhereestimated for U.S.states or regions of other countries-despite the much greater homogeneity ofpolicies, institutions, and preferences (savings, fertility) within than acrossnations. Note, however, that this common 2.5% figure does not mean that it willtake Mississippi as long to catch up to Connecticut as it will for the Congo tocatch up to the U.S.: Mississippi's steady-state output level is likely verynear that of Connecticut's because of the relative homogeneity of states,whereas the Congo's steady-state output level is likely a small fraction ofthat for the U.S.

巴罗教授估计的“趋同率”,为每年2.5%,意思是说:当前产出水平与稳定状态的产出水平之间的差距,需要27年的时间,才能弥合一半;需要89年的时间,能接近90%。这个“每年2.5%”的估计,与巴罗在别处对美国的州(或其他国家的地区)所做的估计——当然,那些地区之间,要比国家之间,在政策、制度和偏好(储蓄、生育)上,具有更大的同质性。然而,注意到,这个共有的2.5%,并不意味着:密西西比赶上康涅狄克的时间,与刚果赶上美国的时间,是一样的。密西西比的稳定状态产出,与康涅狄克,是非常接近的,因为州之间,具有相对的同质性,而刚果的稳定状态产出水平,似乎只是美国的一小部分。

 

Perhaps the most valuable contribution of this essay is itsintroduction, which contains one of the most clear and concise summaries of thedifferences between endogenous growth and neoclassical theories of growth andthe limitations of each. In Barro's view, the recent empirical literature on growth-despitebeing motivated in part by the newer endogenous growth theories-mostly supportsa modified neoclassical theory. An important caveat-one he emphasizes more inhis collection of Wall Street Journal articles-is that the newer theoriesassociated with the endogenous approach to growth are needed to account for thelong-run growth of the technological leaders. The neoclassical approachexplains the bulk of cross-country differences in growth rates in large samplesthat include many poor and middle-income nations. In these samples, over thepost-1960 periods Barro typically analyzes, most of the observed variation ingrowth is associated with countries' differential success in catching up to theinternational technological frontier; the outward movement of the frontieritself generated mostly by scientists and engineers in the U.S. and the othertechnological leaders has little to do with variations in growth in thesesamples. In this statistical setting, therefore, the deck is stacked in favorof the neoclassicals and their prediction of conditional (in the modifiedtheory, unconditional in the original theory) convergence.

可能,这篇文章最有价值的贡献,就是它的“引言”。它对内生增长理论和新古典增长理论之间的差别、以及它们各自的局限,给出了一个最清晰、最简明的总结。在巴罗看来,最新的关于增长的实证文献(除了部分是被更新的内生增长理论所推动之外),大部分都支持一个修正的新古典理论。一个重要的提示(这是他在《华尔街日报论文集》中多次强调的),就是:与内生增长理论相关的更新的理论,需要能解释技术领先者的长期增长。新古典方法,解释了大样本中的大部分的国家间增长率差异(样本包括许多贫穷国家和中等收入国家)。在这些样本中,对于1960年之后,巴罗典型地分析道:大部分观察到的增长变化,与各国在追赶国际技术前沿的差别化成功有关;国际技术前沿的外向移动,大部分来自于美国的科学家和工程师,而其他的技术领先者,与这些样本中的增长变化,没有一点关系。因此,在这个统计设定下,往好的方向看,它是有利于新古典理论的,有利于它的“条件趋同”预言的(条件趋同,是修正理论中的;无条件的情形,是理论原型中的)。

 

Ironically, the more that policymakers in developingcountries listen to economists like Barro, the more irrelevant the neoclassicaltheory will become over time. A rapidly growing body of research by Barro andothers strongly indicates that the inability of many poor nations to catch upmore rapidly to the rich is largely attributable to atrociously bad economicpolicies of governments. If the present strong trend around the world towardimproving property rights, opening economies to external trade, and educatingworkers better continues, the per capita income gaps will steadily close.Attention would then be focused even more than it already is on the ultimatesource of improving living standards in both rich and poor economies, outwardshifts in the international technological frontier. Neoclassical economics, incontrast to the en- dogenous growth theories, will have virtually nothing tosay about the determinants of these outward shifts.

具有讽刺意味的是,发展中国家的政府制定者,越是听巴罗这样的建议,随着时间的变化,新古典理论就越不相关。巴罗和其他研究人员,所做的越来越多的研究体系,指出了:许多贫穷国家,之所以不能更加快速地赶上富裕国家,大部分原因在于政府极其糟糕的经济政策。如果当前全球提高产权、外部贸易的开放经济、更好的工人培训等强劲趋势,持续下去,那么,人均收入差距就会稳定地弥合。因此,人们的注意力,就更要集中于提高各国生水平(无论穷国富国)和国际技术前沿的外向移动上。与内生增长理论相反,新古典经理学,本质上,是不能解释这种外向移动的决定因素的。

 

Barro concludes the chapter by listing projected annualgrowth rates in per capita incomes for the 1996-2000 period, based on the mostrecent available values, for each country for his independent variables. Thesegrowth projections highlight one major feature of cross-country growthregressions: They are not designed to predict or explain macroeconomic crisessuch as currency collapses. His list of projected rapid growers is topped by Korea, at 6.2%, with seven East Asian nationsamong his top eighteen, including Thailand at 4.6%. Events beginningonly a few months after the book was completed make these predictions lookwildly optimistic.

本章,巴罗列举了1996-2000年间的人均收入的年增长率方案,(基于最新的可得的数值,每个国家具有其独立变量),并以此作结。这些增长方案,说明了跨国增长回归的主要特征:它们不是用来预测或解释像“货币崩溃”这样的宏观危机的。他列举的快速增长国家中,韩国达到了最高,为6.2%;还有七个东亚国家,也位于前十八位之中,包括泰国,为4.6%。在本书成稿之后的几个月后,发生的事件,说明了这些预测,是太过乐观了。(巴罗此书成稿于1996年,因此,1996-2000的数据,为预测数据。


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