Truth and robustness in cross-country growth regressions

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2004-12-01

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Abstract

We re-examine studies of cross-country growth regressions by Levine and Renelt (American Economic Review, Vol. 82, 1992, pp. 942-963) and Sala-i-Martin (American Economic Review, Vol. 87, 1997a, pp. 178-183; Economics Department, Columbia, University, 1997b). In a realistic Monte Carlo experiment, their variants of Edward Leamer's extreme-bounds analysis are compared with a cross-sectional version of the general-to-specific search methodology associated with the LSE approach to econometrics. Levine and Renelt's method has low size and low power, while Sala-i-Martin's method has high size and high power. The general-to-specific methodology is shown to have a near nominal size and high power. Sala-i-Martin's method and the general-to-specific method are then applied to the actual data from Sala-i-Martin's original study.

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