The evolution and contribution of technological progress to the South African economy : growth accounting and Kalman filter application

05 May 2015

This study examines the importance of technological progress to aggregate economic growth in South Africa. Quantifying the contribution of technological progress to economic growth has become imperative, considering the outcome of a simple growth accounting exercise. The findings of this exercise indicate that the contribution of technological growth to aggregate economic growth increased substantially, over the past three decades. Economic growth is modelled through a Cobb-Douglas production function, employing Kalman filter to determine the evolution of the Solow residual over time. The Solow residual represents both technological progress and structural change. According to the Kalman filter results, technological progress is characterised by an upward trend since the 1980s with a steeper slope during the 2000s. Our results show that technological progress has become a factor as important to production as capital stock and labour; fact that policy makers should take into consideration to boost economic growth.