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International Finance Discussion Papers
The International Finance Discussion Papers logo links to the International Finance Discussion Papers home page Stock Markets, Growth, and Policy
Ross Levine
1990-374  (February 1990)

Abstract:  In a model that emphasizes technological progress and human capital creator as essential features of economic development, this paper establishes a theoretical link between the financial system and per capita output growth. More specifically, it demonstrates that stock markets--by facilitating the ability to trade ownership of firms without disrupting the productive processes occurring within firms--naturally encourage technological innovation and economic growth. Along with recent studies of the role played by financial institutions other than stock markets in promoting growth, this paper contributes to a theoretical foundation upon which financial policy recommendations may more confidently rest.

The paper finds that direct and indirect taxes associated with stock market transactions slow real per capita output growth. Thus, given different policies toward financial markets, this paper helps to explain simultaneously the observed differences in growth rates across countries, the inability of measured factor inputs to explain these differences, and the close empirical association between the size of financial markets and the rate of economic growth.

Full paper(366 KB PDF)

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