Evaluating growth theories and their empirical support: An assessment of the convergence hypothesis
growth; methodology; Lakatos; scientific research program
Journal of Economic Methodology
Understanding the factors determining economic growth has been a major concern for economists and governing bodies for many years. The Solow growth model and the endogenous growth models are the main theories tested and used in the growth literature. This paper discusses the main contributions to economic methodology and uses Lakatos's scientific research program framework to evaluate the main theoretical contributions to growth theory. Based on Lakatos's ideas, Solovian models are both empirically and theoretically progressive. Endogenous growth models, on the other hand, are not empirically corroborated, and thus not progressive in Lakatosian sense. However, there are many reasons for rational growth economists to continue working in this field, even facing empirical refutations of an important theoretical prediction. Endogenous growth models are promising in terms of generating enormous gains that will help us better understand the mechanisms of economic growth.