DETERMINANTS OF ECONOMIC GROWTH: A STUDY OF SELECTED ASIAN COUNTRIES
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Asia is a developing and fastest growing region of the world. In 1960s, Asia made a sound recovery known as ‘Asian Miracle’. Its sound recovery during global financial crisis has changed its traditional picture among the advanced regions like North America and Europe. It is highly unequal region in the world in terms of economic growth substantiated by the fact that developing Asia covers only its three sub-regions namely East Asia, South-East Asia, and South Asia out of five total regions. Therefore, the rising influence of Asia in global economy and among advanced nations along with rising inequality raises the question that what are the important factors driving rapid economic growth of Asian economies and if these factors lead to their growth differences? Is there any possibility of equitable growth of Asian economies in the long-run? If yes then what could be the contributing factors?. In regard with this research problem there are few studies available related to determinants of economic growth of Asia. In line with these research questions and research gap, this study works with the objectives to study the trend and pattern of economic growth of Asian economies; to investigate the level of income disparity across the Asian economies; to look for convergence possibility across Asian economies; to explore the drivers of economic growth of Asian economies; to suggest for appropriate policy options rapid and equitable growth of Asian economies. This study is an empirical in nature covering the time period from 1975 to 2015 and follows a macroeconomic approach. The twelve have been selected purposively out of total 50 Asian economies on the basis of income classification by World Bank, 2015. The methodology used in this study is specified as per objectives. For the first objective, time series plots has been prepared for variables of economic growth and trend pattern are observed for selected countries. For second objective, income disparity has been observed through maximum to minimum ratio, measure of dispersion, Gini index, and Theil index. For third objective, convergence possibililty across Asian economies is predicted through βconvergence and σ-convergence. For fourth objective, the inverted-U shaped Kuznets curve is estimated to investigate the relationship between growth of per capita GDP and income inequality of Asian economies. For objective fifth, the dynamic panel unit root test is conducted to see the stationary properties of the variables under consideration. Then the ARDL model is adopted to examine the long-run equilibrium relationship between the variables possibly explaining the economic growth of Asian economies. The findings of this study imply that all Asian economies do not reveal an increasing trend of growth over the period. There is a wide disparity among the economic performance of countries from different income groups in respect of selected economic indicators. Income disparities between Asian countries are narrowing down over the period. There is an evidence of catch-up effect and convergence possibility across Asian economies. Economic growth influences income inequality only in case of Japan, South Korea, China, Iran, Thailand, Turkey, India, and Nepal while growth does not influence inequality in case of Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Philippines. The gross capital formation, share of working age population, trade openness, agriculture productivity, energy use, and gross primary school enrolment rate are positively related to economic growth while inflation, domestic credit to private sector, childhood mortality and government consumption expenditure are negatively related to economic growth. Therefore, this study suggests that policy makers should increase the gross capital formation, agricultural productivity, energy use, gross primary school enrolment rate, to efficiently utilize the rising share of working age population, to increase trade openness by encouraging exports and imports. On the other hand, inflation, government consumption expenditure, domestic credit to private sector should be controlled as these are significantly negatively affects economic growth.