Does institutional quality resolve the Lucas Paradox?

Muhammad Akhtaruzzaman, Christopher Hajzler, P Dorian Owen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The Lucas Paradox observes that capital flows predominantly to relatively rich countries, contradicting the neoclassical prediction that it should flow to poorer capital-scarce countries. In an influential study, Alfaro, Kalemli-Ozcan, and Volosovych (AKV) argue that cross-country variation in institutional quality can fully explain the Paradox, contending that if institutional quality is included in regression models explaining international capital inflows, a country's level of economic development is no longer statistically significant. We replicate AKV's results using their cross-sectional IFS capital flow data. Motivated by the importance of conducting inference in statistically adequate models, we focus on misspecification testing of alternative functional forms of their empirical model of capital flows. We show that their resolution of the Paradox relies on inference in a misspecified model. In models that do not fail basic misspecification tests, even though institutional quality is a significant determinant of capital inflows, a country's level of economic development also remains a significant predictor. The same conclusions are reached using an extended dataset covering more recent IFS international capital flow data, first-differenced capital stock data and additional controls.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)455-474
    JournalApplied Economics
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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