Essays on capital accumulation, economic growth, income inequality, and unemployment
thesisposted on 2017-03-01, 02:59 authored by Mamun, Iqtiaruddin Md
The central theme of this thesis is capital accumulation. The thesis reports that increase in economic growth rate and reduction in income inequality boosts capital accumulation that in turn reduces unemployment. Three essays constitute the thesis. The first essay investigates whether saving has been driven by growth or gowth has been driven by saving using data of Asian Miracle Economies (AME) – India, Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan – over the period 1870-2011.The second essay explores the effect of income inequality on capital accumulation using the data of 20 OECD countries - Canada, USA, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and UK - over the period 1870-2011. The effect of capital accumulation on unemployment in 21 OECD countries - Canada, USA, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and UK - has been explored in the third essay. Following the neoclassical revival some economists attribute the amazing productivity growth rate in Asian Miracle Economies (AME) to capital accumulation while assign the backseat to the technological progress – the so called Krugman-Young hypothesis in which saving and schooling are independent of growth. However such assumption is questionable as from the perspective of growth accounting using Cobb-Douglas production function, theories of saving and the scenario that in AMEs prior to WWII living standard was close to subsistence level thus leaving less opportunity of saving and only after WWII with the increase in living standard financial saving and education increase it may be shown that saving and education are not exogenous and independent of growth. The first essay addresses this endogeneity and applying a two-way identification strategy and unique data covering the period 1870-2011 for the AMEs finds that financial saving as well as education comes from productivity growth, financial saving has no significant effect on growth but growth is positively related to the change in educational attainment. These results are robust to choice of instrument set, productivity measurement, the choice of growth model, measurement of saving, inclusion of covariates, and to the choice of estimation period. The essay contributes to the literature explaining that productivity growth drives fixed and human capital accumulation as in the growth controversy it has never been asked and the factor accumulation hypothesis never explains from where the savings come and very little work, if any, has investigated whether growth influences education. The findings of the existing empirical literature suggest that the effect of income inequality on savings is either positive or insignificant. The reason for such findings of the existing empirical literature may be that in estimating the coefficient of income inequality on savings the positive feed-back effect from savings to income inequality has not been dealt with adequately. The second essay takes this endogeneity arising from positive feed-back effect of savings to income inequality in to consideration and applies a two-way identification strategy and unique data covering the period 1870-2011 for 20 OECD countries andfinds that income inequality affects savings negatively. The finding is robust to variation in estimation periods, different measures of saving and inequality and the inclusion of important confounding variables such as financial development, growth and education. Following the seminal work of Layard, Nickell, and Jackman (2005) that propounds no linkage between capital accumulation and unemployment based on the assumption of elasticity of substitution between capital and labour equals unity the role of capital accumulation has been deemphasized for long in explaining unemployment. And the emphasis was on labour market deregulation for reducing unemployment as labour market rigidities arising from trade union power; labour taxes, generous welfare benefits, strict employment protection, and other institutional factors were considered to be the main determinants of unemployment. The third essay using the data for the largest number of countries over the longest period of time – 21 OECD countries over the period 1870-2011- with wage push and aggregate demand factors being taken in to account finds that capital accumulation is important in reducing OECD unemployment.