Institutions and the Scale Effect
Growth models which imply a scale effect are commonly refuted on the basis of empirical evidence. A focus on the extent of the market as opposed to the scale of the country has led recent studies to reconsider the role that country scale plays when conditioning on other factors. We consider a variant of a simple learning by doing model to account for the potential role for institutions in determining the strength – and direction – of the scale effect. Using cross-country data, we find a significant interaction between property rights institutions and the effect of scale on long-run growth: In countries with poor property rights institutions, scale is positively related with income per capita; where property rights institutions are good, higher scale is associated with lower per capita ncomes. We find no evidence of such role for contracting institutions.