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Enhancing integrated analysis of national and global goal pursuit by endogenizing economic productivity

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Pardee Institute for International Futures


Barry B. Hughes & Kanishka Narayan

February 25, 2021

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Hughes BB, Narayan K (2021) Enhancing integrated analysis of national and global goal pursuit by endogenizing economic productivity. PLoS ONE 16(2): e0246797.

Analysis with integrated assessment models (IAMs) and multisector dynamics models (MSDs) of global and national challenges and opportunities, including pursuit of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), requires projections of economic growth. In turn, the pursuit of multiple interacting goals affects economic productivity and growth, generating complex feedback loops among actions and objectives. Yet, most analysis uses either exogenous projections of productivity and growth or specifications endogenously enriched with a very small set of drivers. Extending endogenous treatment of productivity to represent two-way interactions with a significant set of goal-related variables can considerably enhance analysis. Among such variables incorporated in this project are aspects of human development (e.g., education, health, poverty reduction), socio-political change (e.g., governance capacity and quality), and infrastructure (e.g. water and sanitation and modern energy access), all in conditional interaction with underlying technological advance and economic convergence among countries. Using extensive datasets across countries and time, this project broadly endogenizes total factor productivity (TFP) within a large-scale, multi-issue IAM, the International Futures (IFs) model system. We demonstrate the utility of the resultant open system via comparison of new TFP projections with those produced for Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP) scenarios, via integrated analysis of economic growth potential, and via multi-scenario analysis of progress toward the SDGs. We find that the integrated system can reproduce existing SSP projections, help anticipate differential economic progress across countries, and facilitate extended, integrated analysis of trade-offs and synergies in pursuit of the SDGs.

Keywords: Faculty Research