“US Stylized Facts and their Implications for Growth Theory” by Paul EVANS
Ohio State University
The macroeconomics literature heavily relies on stylized facts stemming from the assumption that actual economies operate near balanced growth paths. This paper investigates whether five such stylized facts do indeed characterize the US economy well and thus whether US growth can be reasonably characterized as approximately balanced. Evidence is found that US growth has been approximately balanced during the postwar period. By contrast, a large transition occurred between 1929 and 1946 during which the capital-output ratio plummeted while the net rate of return paid on capital soared. Notwithstanding these huge changes, the average growth rate of per capita output hardly budged between the periods 1889-1929 and 1947-1998. This fact is more consistent with exogenous growth theories than with endogenous growth theories.