Infrastructure and productivity in Latin America: is there a relationship in the long run?

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2010-02-22
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This article analyses the relationship between infrastructure and total factor productivity (TFP) in the four major Latin American economies: Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico. We hypothesise that an increase in infrastructure has an indirect effect on long-term economic growth by raising productivity. To assess this theory, we use the traditional Johansen methodology for testing the cointegration between TFP and physical measures of infrastructure stock, such as energy, roads, and telephones. We then apply the Lütkepohl, Saikkonen and Trenkler Test, which considers a possible level shift in the series and has better small sample properties, to the same data set and compare the two tests. The results do not support a robust long-term relationship between the series; we do not find strong evidence that cuts in infrastructure investment in some Latin American countries were the main reason for the fall in TFP during the 1970s and 1980s.


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