The New Kaldor Facts: Ideas, Institutions, Population, and Human Capital

Paul Romer and Charles Jones
American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, Vol. 2, No. 1, Jan. 2010, 224-45.

In 1961, Nicholas Kaldor highlighted six "stylized" facts to summarize the patterns that economists had discovered in national income accounts and to shape the growth models being developed to explain them. Redoing this exercise today shows just how much progress we have made. In contrast to Kaldor's facts, which revolved around a single state variable, physical capital, our updated facts force consideration of four far more interesting variables: ideas, institutions, population, and human capital. Dynamic models have uncovered subtle interactions among these variables, generating important insights about such big questions as: Why has growth accelerated? Why are there gains from trade?

Wagner Faculty