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Development Growth Models for Singapore and Malaysia: A Geweke Causality Analysis

Tan Khee Giap (National University of Singapore, Singapore, Republic of Singapore)
Nguyen Le Phuong Anh (National University of Singapore, Singapore, Republic of Singapore)
Ye Ye Denise (National University of Singapore, Singapore, Republic of Singapore)

Journal of Centrum Cathedra

ISSN: 1851-6599

Article publication date: 1 February 2015




Nearly five decades after undergoing a structural transformation and navigating several external shocks, both Singapore and Malaysia are now grappling with some crucial policy challenges that necessitate a course-correction in order to sustain their growth momentum, going forward. In light of the renewed interest in understanding the growth constraints faced by the two countries, this paper aims to empirically explore the drivers of economic growth in both Singapore and Malaysia, using data from 1975 to 2012.


The paper employs a novel empirical approach-the Geweke causality analysis-to investigate the causal drivers of economic growth in Singapore and Malaysia. Intuitively, the Geweke causality analysis helps us understand and measure the linear dependence and feedback between multiple time series variables. To that effect, we perform both a bi-variate as well as a multi-variate causality analysis.


The empirical results established using Geweke causality analysis suggest that Malaysia's new development trajectory should lie in rebalancing the economy toward greater domestic demand and building a robust services sector. The results also suggest that Singapore, on the other hand, should embrace a growth model that goes beyond relying heavily on foreign direct investment (FDI) as a source of economic growth as the linear dependence between FDI and real GDP growth appears to be weaker compared to the linear dependence between the remaining variables and the real GDP growth.


While the traditional growth accounting framework provides useful insights at the aggregate level, there is a growing literature that discusses the importance of sectoral analysis to understand structural transformations in the economies which become important to sustain productivity growth in the long-run. This is immensely relevant in the case of Malaysia and Singapore, as well, especially with the changing policy focus in these countries to overcome structural growth issues. In light of this growing discussion on the importance of understanding the growth dynamics at the sectoral level, this paper presents new empirical evidence on the growth drivers in Singapore and Malaysia with a sectoral focus.



Giap, T.K., Anh, N.L.P. and Denise, Y.Y. (2015), "Development Growth Models for Singapore and Malaysia: A Geweke Causality Analysis", Journal of Centrum Cathedra, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 165-186.



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