Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard New Professor at Copenhagen University
| Nicolai Foss |
I suspect that quite a number of the readers of this blog will know Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard, or at least know his work. Peter is a Danish political scientist, who has spent a number of years in the US (mainly at Columbia), he is the European editor of Public Choice, a co-editor of Advances in Austrian Economics, and the author of numerous fine rational choice papers in political science and economic history. He is also an acknowledged expert on heraldry. In addition, Peter has been a libertarian/classical liberal activitist for many years, being one of the founders of the Danish Center for Political Studies. He is a columnist for one of the major Danish newspapers. In other words, Peter is possessed of a truly incredible energy.
Yesterday, Peter formally assumed a full professorship of political science at Copenhagen University, one of the most prestiguous chairs in Danish social science.His inaugural lecture concerned the determinants of economic growth, complete with references to Robert Lucas and Robert Barro. The lecture began from the postulates, often made by Scandinavian social-democrats (of various parties) that the Scandinavian economies have achieved their rather succesful performance, not in spite of the strong equalitarian and highly democratic Scandinavian political systems but because of these.
Peter presented a series of regression models that, based on global data (Freedom of the World, World Bank, etc.), took growth as the dependent variable and used a long string of measures for equality, democracy and economic freedom as independent variables. While of course in the same vein as work by Robert Barro and countless others, this seems to be the first instance of including all three potential determinants of growth in the same model(s). The conclusions? Roughly that equality matters very little when it comes to explaining growth performance, that democracy does matter, but not much, and that economic freedom explains quite a lot of the variance, much economic freedom being associated with high growth rates.