Date of Award


Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Dissertation

Degree Name

Economics, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Robert Klitgaard

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Yi Feng

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Paul Zak

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Rights Information

© 2020 Paige Richmond


Economic development, Policy reforms, Cross-country growth regressions

Subject Categories



Recent literature expresses doubt in regard to policy reforms due to the lack of growth that has been seen (Easterly, 2019). This dissertation explores the challenges of causal modeling in economic development. It revisits pioneering attempts to estimate the economic policies that advance growth, using twenty-six years of additional data and different econometric modeling techniques. Levine and Renelt’s (1992) findings of fragility in cross-country growth regressions are validated. Updating and using a different econometric modeling technique finds investment to be robust for economic growth. This dissertation also builds off of work that has quantified the magnitude of growth episodes. This dissertation focuses on three country case studies that have experienced exceptional growth breaks based on net present value gains and losses. Exceptions are studied in an attempt to understand what has an impact on these growth breaks. Positive breaks in Haiti and Mozambique are associated with democratic transitions and subsequent foreign aid. The results indicate that economic policies alone are not responsible for growth episodes; rather, they are also impacted by political and social factors.