The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?
In our view there has been a "Neoclassical Revival" in growth economics spurred by the empirical findings of Mankiw, Romer, and Weil (1992), Barro and Sala-i-Martin (1995), and Young (1994 and 1995). By this we mean a revival of the neoclassical growth model—which features a common level of productivity but different levels of human and physical capital across countries—as a viable candidate for explaining the major part of country differences in levels and growth rates of output per worker. Marshaling existing evidence from the labor literature on the returns to schooling and experience, we construct new measures of human capital across countries. We find that productivity differences are the dominant source of the large international dispersion in levels and growth rates of output per worker. We conclude that, although models that focus on physical and human capital are clearly important, research needs to be re-focused on explaining the causes of productivity differences across countries.