An Attempt to Assess the Quantitative Impact of Institutions on Economic Growth and Economic Development

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Abstract

This study aims at assessing to what extent institutional environment is responsible for worldwide differences in economic growth and economic development. To answer this question, we use an innovative approach based on a new concept of the institutions-augmented Solow model which is then estimated empirically using regression equations. The analysis covers 180 countries during the 1993-2012 period. The empirical analysis confirms a large positive impact of the quality of institutional environment on the level of economic development. The positive link has been evidenced for all five institutional indicators: two indices of economic freedom (Heritage Foundation and Fraser Institute), the governance indicator (World Bank), the democracy index (Freedom House), and the EBRD transition indicator for post-socialist countries. Differences in physical capital, human capital, and institutional environment explain about 70-75% of the worldwide differences in economic development. The institutions-augmented Solow model, however, performs slightly poorer in explaining differences in the rates of economic growth: only one institutional variable (index of economic freedom) has a statistically significant impact on economic growth. In terms of originality, this paper extends the theoretical analysis of the Solow model by including institutions, on the one hand, and shows a comprehensive empirical analysis of the impact of various institutional indicators on both the level of development and the pace of economic growth, on the other. The results bring important policy implications.

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