The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Both sides of the institutions and growth debate have resorted largely to microeconometric techniques in testing hypotheses. In this paper, I build a panel structural vector autoregression (SVAR) model for a short panel of 119 countries over 10 years and find support for the institutions hypothesis. Controlling for individual fixed effects, I find that exogenous shocks to a proxy for institutional quality have a positive and statistically significant effect on GDP per capita. On average, a 1 percent shock in institutional quality leads to a peak 1.7 percent increase in GDP per capita after six years. Results are robust to using a different proxy for institutional quality. There are different dynamics for advanced economies and developing countries. This suggests diminishing returns to institutional quality improvements.