(Published Mar 2012. Vol. 17, Iss. 1; pg. 27, Boston) History’s a curse: leapfrogging, growth breaks and growth reversals under international borrowing without commitment, Raouf Boucekkine, Patrick A Pintus. Journal of Economic Growth.
Abstract (Summary): A simple open-economy AK model with collateral constraints accounts for growth breaks and growth-reversal episodes, during which countries face abrupt changes in their growth rate that may lead to either growth miracles or growth disasters. Absent commitment to investment by the borrowing country, imperfect contract enforcement leads to an informational lag such that the debt contracted upon today depends upon the past stock of capital. The no-commitment delay originates a history effect by which the richer a country has been in the past, the more it can borrow today. For (arbitrarily) small delays, the history effect offsets the growth benefits from international borrowing and dampens growth, and it leads to both leapfrogging in long-run levels and growth breaks. When large enough, the history effect originates growth reversals and we connect the latter to leapfrogging. Finally, we argue that the model accords with the reported evidence on changes in the growth rate at break dates. We also provide examples showing that leapfrogging and growth reversals may coexist, so that currently poor but fast-growing countries experiencing sharp growth reversals may end up, in the long-run, significantly richer than currently rich but declining countries.
(Published Jan 2012) Growth vs. Level Effect of Population Change on Economic Development: An Inspection into Human-Capital-Related Mechanisms, Raouf Boucekkine, Blanca Martinez, José Ramón Ruiz Tamarit. SSRN Working Paper Series. Rochester:
Abstract: This paper studies the different mechanisms and the dynamics through which demography is channeled to the economy. We analyze the role of demographic changes in the economic development process by studying the transitional and the long-run impact of both the rate of population growth and the initial population size on the levels of per capita human capital and income. We do that in an enlarged Lucas-Uzawa model with intergenerational altruism. In contrast to the existing theoretical literature, the long-run level effects of demographic changes, i.e. their impact on the levels of the variables along the balanced growth path, are deeply characterized in addition to the more standard long-run growth effects. We prove that the level effect of the population rate of growth is non-negative (positive in the empirically most relevant case) for the average level of human capital, but a priori ambiguous for the level of per capita income due to the interaction of three transmission mechanisms of demographic shocks, a standard one (dilution) and two non-standard (altruism and human capital accumulation). Overall, the sign of the level effects of population growth depend on preference and technology parameters, but numerically we show that the joint negative effect of dilution and altruism is always stronger than the induced positive human capital effect. The growth effect of population growth depends basically on the attitude to intergenerational altruism and intertemporal substitution. Moreover, we also prove that the long-run level effects of population size on per capita human capital and income may be negative, nil, or positive, depending on the relationship between preferences and technology, while its growth effect is zero. Finally, we show that the model is able to replicate complicated time relationships between economic and demographic changes. In particular, it entails a negative effect of population growth on per capita income, which dominates in the initial periods, and a positive effect which restores a positive correlation between population growth and economic performance in the long term.