I've been reading this paper, and its definitely a good review of recent growth research. He concludes by saying that:
(i) There is no simple determinant of growth.
(ii) The initial level of income is the most important and robust variable (so conditional convergence is the most robust empirical fact in the data).
(iii) The size of the government does not appear to matter much. What is important is the 'quality of government'.
(iv) The relation between most measures of human capital and growth is weak. Some
measures of health, however, (such as life expectancy) are robustly correlated with growth.
(v) Institutions (such as free markets, property rights and the rule of law) are important for growth.
(vi) More open economies tend to grow faster.
He repeats the idea that "life expectancy is one of the variables most robustly correlated with growth". Since I am now reasonably convinced that the increase in life expectancy is somehow connected with the decline in fertility, this is quite an interesting result.
On another front, I have just come across this paper:
The Impact of Poor Health on Total Factor Productivity, by Matthew Cole and Eric Neumayer.
Here's the abstract:
"A number of recent studies have illustrated the link between health and economic growth. This paper argues that a key mechanism through which health affects growth is via total factor productivity (TFP). We first estimate TFP based on a production function and then estimate the determinants of TFP, paying particular attention to three indicators of health that are particularly problematic in developing regions: malnutrition, malaria and waterborne diseases. We find the impact of poor health on TFP to be negative, significant, and robust across a wide variety of specifications."
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