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Quantity and Quality of Economic Growth

  • Economics
  • Education
  • Political Science
  • Religious Science


Most cross-country studies of economic performance have focused on narrow economic variables. The present study emphasizes instead some quality dimensions of economic development, including health, fertility, income distribution, political institutions, crime, and religion. The data reveal a regular pattern in which economic development goes along with higher life expectancy and reduced fertility. Improvements in the standard of living are also associated with expansions of democracy, increased maintenance of the rule of law, and reductions in official corruption. Despite the presence of a Kuznets curve, little of the variations in income inequality are explained by the overall level of economic development. Crime rates, proxied by murder rates, also bear little relation with the level of development but are more closely associated with income inequality. Finally, there is some support for the secularization hypothesis, in that economic development is typically accompanied by lower levels of church attendance and religious beliefs. However, religiosity is positively related to education, holding fixed other indicators of economic development.

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