Ross Levine, 25 October 2011

Financial systems support and spur economic growth. But does financial innovation foster financial development? While recent innovations have done damage, this column says the long-run story is that financial innovation is essential for economic growth.

Michael Bordo, Peter Rousseau, 26 May 2011

How interconnected are finance, trade, and economic growth? This column looks to the past in search of an answer. Examining economies that traded across the Atlantic, it finds that finance and trade reinforced one another between 1880 and 1914 but these links were absent in the post-war period. Financial development has been strongly related to growth throughout the last 130 years, whereas trade had a direct effect on growth only after 1945.

Henry Overman, 29 March 2011

When the global crisis hit, many predicted that London would suffer more than other parts of the UK, given the city’s reliance on the financial services industry. This column explores how the UK capital’s economy suffered far less than the rest of the country.

Svetlana Andrianova, Panicos Demetriades, David Fielding, Badi H Baltagi, 25 March 2011

International donors provide large amounts of financial capital to Africa in the form of aid and grants, but there are also large financial flows in the opposite direction. Many African banks invest large sums abroad and lend relatively little to local businesses. This column explains that this is because many banks suffer from a shortage of information about the creditworthiness of some of their customers.

Ejaz Ghani, 13 March 2011

The Indian economy, along with others in South Asia, is among the fastest growing in the world. But what about social progress? This column reviews World Bank data suggesting that while income growth is helping to reduce poverty, the number of poor people is actually rising and there remains huge room for improvement in education, health, and women’s economic participation.

Nauro Campos, Ralitza Dimova, 24 December 2010

Does corruption sand or grease the wheels of economic growth? This column reviews recent research that uses meta-analysis techniques to try to provide more concrete answers to this old-age question. From a unique, comprehensive data base of 460 estimates of the impact of corruption on growth from 41 studies, the main conclusion that emerges is that there is little support for the “greasing the wheels” hypothesis.

Jaume Ventura, Fernando Broner, 20 December 2010

This paper challenges the Washington Consensus truism that financial liberalization increases economic growth and financial stability in emerging markets. The authors of DP8171 find no evidence that financial liberalization increases growth and blame it for ramping up volatility in output and consumption levels.

Jose Enrique Garcilazo, Joaquim Oliveira Martins, William Tompson, 20 November 2010

The World Bank's Indermit Gill recently argued that economic growth will naturally be spatially unbalanced and that to try to spread it out – too thinly or too soon – would discourage it. This column responds by pointing out that economic concentration is neither necessary nor sufficient for growth.

Justin Wolfers , Betsey Stevenson, Daniel Sacks, 11 October 2010

Does money buy happiness? Discussion Paper 8048 examines the relationship between subjective well-being and income along three dimensions: between individuals in the same country, between other countries, and during a country's growth. In each case higher income correlates with higher reported levels of subjective well-being. Higher income, the authors conclude, does in fact make people happier with their lives.

Yuriy Gorodnichenko, Gérard Roland, 21 September 2010

Does culture affect long-run growth? This column argues that countries with a more individualist culture have enjoyed higher long-run growth than countries with a more collectivist culture. Individualist culture attaches social status rewards to personal achievements and thus provides not only monetary incentives for innovation but also social status rewards.

Hans Peter Grüner, Markus Brückner, 16 May 2010

Will the global crisis lead to a rise in political extremism just as during the Great Depression? This column examines the vote share for extreme parties in a sample of 16 OECD countries over three decades. A one-percentage-point decline in growth leads to a one-percentage-point increase in the vote share for right-wing or nationalist parties.

Joel Mokyr, 05 February 2010

Joel Mokyr of Northwestern University talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his book, The Enlightened Economy, which argues that we cannot understand the Industrial Revolution without recognising the importance of the intellectual sea changes of Britain’s Age of Enlightenment. They discuss the importance of cultural beliefs for the pursuit of economic growth in today’s developing countries. The interview was recorded in San Francisco in January 2009.

Daron Acemoğlu, 27 February 2009

Daron Acemoglu of MIT talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his new book, Introduction to Modern Economic Growth. They discuss why sustained growth took off in Europe in the nineteenth century, the roles of technology and institutions in explaining why some countries grow rapidly while others stagnate, and the growth prospects for the world’s poorest countries as well as the recent Asian success stories. The interview was recorded at the American Economic Association meetings in San Francisco in January 2009.

Elias Papaioannou, Gregorios Siourounis, 25 October 2008

Cross-country comparisons have produced little evidence that democracy improves economic growth. This column summarises research using within-country comparisons over time to show that democratising countries realise higher long-run growth after the volatile transition period. Democracy’s value may lie in its dynamic aspects.

Moshe Hazan, 27 September 2008

The World Health Organisation recently argued that improving the longevity of the poor is not only an end in itself but also a means to achieving economic development. This column presents contrary evidence from the history of the US.

Alan Taylor, Antoni Estevadeordal, 24 August 2008

The link between greater openness to trade and higher growth, once held sacred by economists, has come under contestation in recent years. The authors of DP6942 develop a growth model with a basis for trade in order to uncover the impressive impact trade has had upon growth of GDP, using data from before and after the Uruguay Round.

Dale Jorgenson, 08 August 2008

Dale Jorgenson of Harvard University talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his projections for the growth of the US economy over the next 10 to 25 years, focusing particularly on the impact of information technology and labour supply. The interview was recorded at the American Economic Association meetings in New Orleans in January 2008.

Jeffrey Frankel, 25 March 2008

The standard story for high commodity prices is rapid growth by China, India and company. But world growth is slowing, while commodity prices still hit new highs. This column suggests that the key may be low real interest rates.

Guido Tabellini, 04 December 2007

Individuals' morality is a key mechanism through which distant political and economic history shapes the functioning of current institutions.

Liam Brunt, 25 September 2007

Historical evidence from a natural experiment in South Africa suggests that changing particular institutions is really only tinkering at the economic margins. Establishing clear property rights, by contrast, facilitates almost all economic interactions and unleashes the full potential of the economy. Several developing economies – such as Vietnam and China – have recently been moving down this road, and history suggests that the economic gains are likely to be large.

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