CiteWeb id: 19920000014

CiteWeb score: 13350

DOI: 10.2307/2118477

This paper examines whether the Solow growth model is consistent with the international variation in the standard of living. It shows that an augmented Solow model that includes accumulation of human as well as physical capital provides an excellent description of the cross-country data. The paper also examines the implications of the Solow model for convergence in standards of living, that is, for whether poor countries tend to grow faster than rich countries. The evidence indicates that, holding population growth and capital accumulation constant, countries converge at about the rate the augmented Solow model predicts. This paper takes Robert Solow seriously. In his classic 1956 article Solow proposed that we begin the study of economic growth by assuming a standard neoclassical production function with decreasing returns to capital. Taking the rates of saving and population growth as exogenous, he showed that these two vari- ables determine the steady-state level of income per capita. Be- cause saving and population growth rates vary across countries, different countries reach different steady states. Solow's model gives simple testable predictions about how these variables influ- ence the steady-state level of income. The higher the rate of saving, the richer the country. The higher the rate of population growth, the poorer the country. This paper argues that the predictions of the Solow model are, to a first approximation, consistent with the evidence. Examining recently available data for a large set of countries, we find that saving and population growth affect income in the directions that Solow predicted. Moreover, more than half of the cross-country variation in income per capita can be explained by these two variables alone. Yet all is not right for the Solow model. Although the model correctly predicts the directions of the effects of saving and

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