Capital stock has more than doubled worldwide in the past twenty-five years, with Asia as the powerhouse of capital accumulation ahead of the most economically developed regions.
This publication analyzes capital accumulation processes in the world economy between 1985 and 2008 from what is a dual perspective: considering the role of investment as an aggregate demand component and, especially, its contribution on the supply side of the economy. Key traits of the study are the large number of countries in the sample and its focus on the investment mix by asset category, thus providing a more accurate picture of national growth patterns and competitive weaknesses. The first step was to standardize the information drawn from a series of sources, notably the World Bank and the EU KLEMS project.
The study shows that most countries have reoriented their stock to potentially more productive assets, like machinery and equipment, particularly ICTs. However, real estate assets continue to account for the bulk of accumulated stock. Overall, countries have intensified the use of their capital, while value-added generated has exceeded the contribution of the productive factors, labor and capital, in both quantitative and qualitative terms, delivering progress in efficiency. But there are exceptions, with some economies – Spain’s among them – accumulating resources without any advance in productivity.
This book builds on earlier studies in the capitalization and growth research program run by the BBVA Foundation and the Valencian Economic Research Institute (Ivie) over the space of almost two decades. Scholars and the interested public will find in its pages an exhaustive analysis of the capitalization and growth paths followed by diverse countries, with special reference to Spain.