Development Economics and Structuralist Macroeconomics
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Development Economics and Structuralist Macroeconomics

Essays in Honor of Lance Taylor

Edited by Amitava Krishna Dutt

Lance Taylor is widely considered to be one of the pre-eminent development economists in the world and is known for his work on development planning, macroeconomics of development, stabilization policy, and the global economy. He has also been the major force behind structuralist economics, which is seen by many to be a major alternative to orthodox development economics and policy prescriptions. The essays in this volume, written by well-known scholars in their own right, make contributions to each of these areas while honoring the contributions made by Lance Taylor.
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Chapter 16: Income elasticities of imports, North-South trade and uneven development*

Amitava Krishna Dutt


16. Income elasticities of imports, North–South trade and uneven development* Amitava Krishna Dutt** 1 INTRODUCTION The gap in per capita income levels between the rich and poor countries of the world is enormous. In 1998, the average per capita GNP of the countries the World Bank classifies as high-income countries was almost 50 times that of low-income countries, and 67 times that of these countries leaving out China and India. In terms of purchasing power adjusted per capita figures, the gap narrows somewhat, but these multiples remain high, at 11 and 17. The question naturally arises whether this gap will close over time or widen. Evidence about past trends yields a dismal picture. The standard deviation of the log of PPP adjusted per capita GDP has gone up between 1960 and 1990, implying what is called ␴-divergence (Sala-i-Martin, 1996). The Lorenz curve showing income distribution between countries has moved up over the same period, and the Theil index has increased as well (Stocker, 1994). The equation regressing the growth rate of per capita GDP on initial per capita income has a positive slope, implying what is called ␤divergence, although the fit is loose (Sala-i-Martin, 1996). Quadratic regressions imply an inverse-U shape for the relation, implying a positive relation between starting income and growth for most of the sample, and a negative relation for a small group of rich countries (Baumol, Blackman and Wolff, 1989; Ros, 2000). Quah (1993) estimates a 5ϫ5 Markov chain transition matrix in which...

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