Growth Economics: 2021-2022


Paulo Brito: pbrito at iseg dot ulisboa dot pt


Schedule: 16.2.2022 - 18.5.2020 (Easter break 11.4.2022-18.2.2022), wednesdays 20h-23h
Room: online
Office hours: 24.2.2022 - 18.5.2022, wednesdays 18-19h (upon confirmation)
Assessment: written exam


This is a course on economic growth theory, with a view on their relationship with the most important stylised facts on growth. Our main goal is to enable students to address analytically, and not only descriptively, the main facts on economic growth. This is particularly necessary because the economic growth is a slow, hard to grasp, and a usually hidden process with huge consequences. Furthermore, upon successful completion of the course, the students should be able to understand the relevant literature and to have a knowledgeable reading of the facts.

Students are assumed to have: (1) an introductory knowledge of economic growth theory and history at the level of the first cycle; (2) mathematical knowledge of calculus, algebra and optimization at the level of the course in mathematical economics taught in the first semester of the Master in Economics.


  1. Introduction

  2. A toolkit for economic growth theory

  3. The Malthusian model: modelling pre-industrial economies

  4. Exogenous growth theory and capital accumulation

    1. Add-hoc models: the Solow model

    2. Intertemporal optimizing model: the Ramsey model

  5. The AK model: benchmark endogenous growth model

  6. The Romer model: endogenous growth and externalities

  7. New-Keynesian model: imperfect competition and growth

  8. Technology and endogenous growth:

    1. expansion of varieties,

    2. creative destruction,

    3. directed technical change,

    4. automation,

  9. Human capital accumulation and growth

  10. Growth, fiscal policy and government debt dynamics

  11. Growth in open economies

  12. Growth and the environment


Topic Slide Problem set

1 Introduction Introduction
2 Toolkit for economic growth theory Toolkit problem set 1: toolkit
3 Malthusian models Malthusian growth theory problem set 2: Malthus, problem set 2: solutions
4.1Exogenous growth: add hoc model Solow growth theory problem set 3: Solow, problem set 3: solutions
4.2Exogenous growth: optimal growth, Ramsey model problem set 4: Ramsey, problem set 4: solutions
5 The AK model AK model problem set 5: AK models
6 The Romer model Romer externality growth model problem set 5: Romer models
7 A New-Keynesian growth model imperfect competition and growth paper
8.0R&D an growth Introduction
8.1Expansion of varieties R&D and expansion of varieties modelproblem set 6
8.4Automation Robots and growth problem set 7
10 Growth, taxes, and government debtGrowth, taxes and government debt problem set 8

Disclaimer: the slides, the problem sets and some solutions will be provided before the class but can be modified afterwards. The final version will be posted before the 21st May. Please check the date of document. You can find last year’s version is here


[Acemoglu(2009)]   Daron Acemoglu. Introduction to Modern Economic Growth. Princeton University Press, 2009.

[Aghion and Durlauf(2005)]   Philippe Aghion and Steven N. Durlauf, editors. Handbook of Economic Growth,, volume 1A & 1B. Elsevier, 2005.

[Aghion and Howitt(2009)]   Philippe Aghion and Peter Howitt. The Economics of Growth. MIT Press, 2009.

[Barro and Sala-i-Martin(2004)]   Robert J. Barro and Xavier Sala-i-Martin. Economic Growth. MIT Press, 2nd edition, 2004.

[Crafts and Woltjer(2020)]   Nicholas Crafts and Pieter Woltjer. Growth accounting in Economic History: findings, lessons and new directions. Journal of Economic Surveys, n/a(n/a), 2020. doi: 10.1111/joes.12348. URL

[Gallardo-Albarrán and Inklaar(2020)]   Daniel Gallardo-Albarrán and Robert Inklaar. The role of capital and productivity in accounting for the incme differences since 1913. Journal of Economic Surveys, 2020.

[Hanushek and Woessmann(2015)]   Eric A. Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann. The Knowledge Capital of Nations. CESifo Book Series. MIT Press, 2015.

[Vollrath(2020)]   Dietrich Vollrath. Fully Grown. Chicago University Press, Chicago, 2020.

Course notes

Course notes 2018


Past exams: EN 2020-21 | ER 2020-21 |

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Last change: May 11, 2022