Research in the economics of growth – both theoretical and empirical – has produced surprisingly few resilient results about policies that might promote long-run growth in economically advanced countries. The immense variation in the long-run growth experiences of developed countries has largely escaped notice. The analysis of growth differences in the OECD countries shows that long-run growth is as closely related to cognitive skills within the group of developed countries as it is in the global sample. Considerable current policy discussion involves variations in more fine-grained institutional features such as product market regulations and various forms of employment protection, but in contrast to the role of knowledge capital, a long battery of commonly identified measures of these institutions does not add to an explanation of the substantial differences in long-run growth rates that exist across OECD countries. Moreover, there is not a specific role of tertiary attainment for OECD growth once direct measures of skills are taken into consideration.
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