DP14070 High-Quality Versus Low-Quality Growth in Turkey - Causes and Consequences

Author(s): Daron Acemoglu, Murat Üçer
Publication Date: October 2019
Keyword(s): economic growth, emerging markets, high-quality growth, institutions, productivity, shared prosperity, Turkey
JEL(s): E65, O52
Programme Areas: Macroeconomics and Growth
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14070

Turkey's economy has made important strides in the 17 years since the financial crisis of 2001, averaging an annual growth rate of about 5.7%. But the quality of this growth has been poor, especially since 2007, with little-to-no productivity growth, limited technological upgrading, substantial (mis)allocation of resources to the construction sector and a huge surge in credit. This growth has also been generally unequal. This low-quality, unequal growth has been in the context of worsening economic institutions, underpinned by deteriorating political institutions. This paper attempts to understand the causes and consequences of low-quality growth in Turkey, briefly interrupted by a period of higher-quality growth between 2002 and 2006. The main thesis of our paper is that the lack of high-quality, shared growth in Turkey is rooted in the nature and evolution of its economic institutions, which are themselves closely linked to the country's political institutions. The short episode of high-quality and more equally shared growth came as a result of institutional improvements, but duly disappeared as these institutional gains were reversed.