SOAS University of London

Department of Economics

Gabriel Pollen

  • Research


Gabriel Pollen
Gabriel Pollen
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Thesis title:
Total Factor Productivity Growth Applications in a Developing Country: Does the case of Zambia validate or repudiate its realism? (Working Title)
Year of Study:
Year of Entry: 2013 - 2014
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

For many years, a diversity of stakeholders, with economists taking the leading role, have sort to explain the seemingly bewildering subject of economic growth. This curiosity has primarily rested upon an assessment of the sources of growth. For more than a dozen decades, new theories, models and ways of thinking (including the neo-classical growth model and the new growth model) have been developed and refined in an attempt to decipher the somewhat elusive subject of economic growth. Several years have seen refinement of these models and have accordginly lent impetus for research in this area (see for instance Ramsey, 1928; Solow, 1956; Swan 1965; Barro, 1997). Given the complexity of economic growth and change, the growth theories have been developed as an attempt to frame and/or structure, at least in a formal way, this complexity (Stern et al., 2005). However, while appreciating that knowledge in this field has grown substantially as researchers seek to provide answers, it is also still highly recognised that many questions remain unanswered (Helpman, 2004).

The recent global economic slowdown and resurgence of developing countries’ growth prospects have underscored renewed research interests in the field of economic growth – particularly in developing countries where growth had stagnated (in most cases even reversed) for several decades post the 1960s independence. However, the stimulation of research interests rests on the supposed recovery of the African continent in the past decade or so. Indeed, explaining such economic resurgence and the ‘hidden’ sources of economic growth remains a key challenge for many economists. Numerous studies have exhibited tremendous effort in a bid to explain the sources of economic growth by application of growth models – however, most of these studies have been inadequate in providing country-specific results that take into account prevailing economic conditions before imposing any theoretical models.

The starting point of this study is to question the applicability of these growth models and theories to the Zambian set up. Here, the study follows a similar line of thought as Fine (1980; 1992; 2000) and Sato (2005) who argue that these models are riddled with both theoretical and empirical defects and ultimately renders their purpose in terms of prescribing a set of policy alternatives as useless.



Development economics, growth and development, political economy