Creator: Chari, V. V., Kehoe, Patrick J., and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Joint committee on business and financial analysis Abstract:
This paper proposes a simple method for guiding researchers in developing quantitative models of economic fluctuations. We show that a large class of models, including models with various frictions, are equivalent to a prototype growth model with time varying wedges that, at least on face value, look like time-varying productivity, labor taxes, and capital income taxes. We label the time varying wedges as efficiency wedges, labor wedges, and investment wedges. We use data to measure these wedges and then feed them back into the prototype growth model. We then assess the fraction of fluctuations accounted for by these wedges during the great depressions of the 1930s in the United States, Germany, and Canada. We find that the efficiency and labor wedges in combination account for essentially all of the declines and subsequent recoveries. Investment wedge plays at best a minor role.
Keyword: Business cycle, Cycle, Economic fluctuations, Fluctuation, and Growth Subject (JEL): O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models, O47 - Economic growth and aggregate productivity - Measurement of economic growth ; Aggregate productivity ; Cross-country output convergence, and E32 - Prices, business fluctuations, and cycles - Business fluctuations ; Cycles
Creator: Caselli, Francesco, 1966- and Coleman, Wilbur John. Series: Productivity and the industrial revolution Abstract:
The process by which per capita income in the South converged to northern levels is intimately related to the structural transformation of the U.S. economy. We find that empirically most of the southern gains are attributable to the nation-wide convergence of agricultural wages to non-agricultural wages, and the faster rate of transition of the Southern labor force from agricultural to non-agricultural jobs. Similar results describe the Mid-West's catch up to the North-East (but not the relative experience of the West). To explain these observations, we construct a model in which the South (Mid-West) has a comparative advantage in producing unskilled-labor intensive agricultural goods. Thus, it starts with a disproportionate share of the unskilled labor force and lower per capita incomes. Over time, declining education/training costs induce an increasing proportion of the labor force to move out of the (unskilled) agricultural sector and into the (skilled) non-agricultural sector. The decline in the agricultural labor force leads to an increase in relative agricultural wages. Both effects benefit the South (Mid-West) disproportionately since it has more agricultural workers. The model successfully matches the quantitative features of the U.S. structural transformation and regional convergence, as well as several other stylized facts on U.S. economic growth in the last century. The model does not rely on frictions on factor mobility, since in our empirical work we find this channel to be less important than the compositional effects the model emphasizes.
Keyword: Skill acquisition, Regional economies, Agricultural and non-agricultural workers, Structural transformation, and Regional convergence Subject (JEL): O14 - Economic development - Industrialization ; Manufacturing and service industries ; Choice of technology, O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models, and O18 - Economic development - Regional, urban, and rural analyses
Creator: Laitner, John. Series: Productivity and the industrial revolution Abstract:
This paper presents a model in which a country's average propensity to save tends to rise endogenously over time. The paper uses a two-sector neoclassical framework to model the transition from agriculture to manufacturing which typically accompanies economic development. Key assumptions are that only the agricultural sector uses land and a simple version of Engel's law. When a country's income per capita is low, agricultural consumption is important; consequently, land is valuable and capital gains on it may account for most wealth accumulation, making the NIPA APS appear low. If exogenous technological progress raises incomes over time, Engel's law shifts demand to manufactured goods. Then land's importance in portfolios relative to reproducible capital diminishes and the measured average propensity to save can rise.
Keyword: Manufacturing, Growth, and Economic growth Subject (JEL): O14 - Economic development - Industrialization ; Manufacturing and service industries ; Choice of technology and O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
Creator: Azariadis, Costas. and Smith, Bruce D. (Bruce David), 1954-2002 Series: Finance, fluctuations, and development Abstract:
We study a variant of the one-sector neoclassical growth model of Diamond in which capital investment must be credit financed, and an adverse selection problem appears in loan markets. The result is that the unfettered operation of credit markets leads to a one-dimensional indeterminacy of equilibrium. Many equilibria display economic fluctuations which do not vanish asymptotically; such equilibria are characterized by transitions between a Walrasian regime in which the adverse selection problem does not matter, and a regime of credit rationing in which it does. Moreover, for some configurations of parameters, all equilibria display such transitions for two reasons. One, the banking system imposes ceilings on credit when the economy expands and floors when it contracts because the quality of public information about the applicant pool of potential borrowers is negatively correlated with the demand for credit. Two, depositors believe that returns on bank deposits will be low (or high): these beliefs lead them to transfer savings out of (into) the banking system and into less (more) productive uses. The associated disintermediation (or its opposite) causes banks to contract (expand) credit. The result is a set of equilibrium interest rates on loans that validate depositors' original beliefs. We investigate the existence of perfect foresight equilibria displaying periodic (possibly asymmetric) cycles that consist of m periods of expansion followed by n periods of contraction, and propose an algorithm that detects all such cycles.
Keyword: Interest rates, Equilibrium, Credit markets, and Business cycles Subject (JEL): E51 - Monetary policy, central banking, and the supply of money and credit - Money supply ; Credit ; Money multipliers, E44 - Money and interest rates - Financial markets and the macroeconomy, O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models, and E32 - Prices, business fluctuations, and cycles - Business fluctuations ; Cycles
Creator: Chang, Roberto. Series: Conference on economics and politics Abstract:
This paper examines the determination of the rate of growth in an economy in which two political parties, each representing a different social class, negotiate the magnitude and allocation of taxes. Taxes may increase growth if they finance public services, but reduce growth when used to redistribute income between classes. The different social classes have different preferences about growth and redistribution. The resulting conflict is resolved through the tax negotiations between the political parties. I use the model to obtain empirical predictions and policy lessons about the relationship between economic growth and income inequality. In particular, I show that, although differences in growth rates across countries may be negatively related to income inequality, redistributing wealth does not enhance growth.
Subject (JEL): O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models and D72 - Analysis of collective decision-making - Models of political processes : Rent-seeking, elections, legislatures, and voting behavior
Creator: Krusell, Per and Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor Series: Conference on economics and politics Abstract:
Some economic policies and regulations seem to have only one purpose: to prevent technological development and economic growth from occurring. In this paper, we attempt to rationalize such policies as outcomes of voting equilibria. In our environment, some agents will be worse off if the economy grows, since their skills are complementary to resources that can be allocated to growth-stimulating activities. In the absence of arrangements where votes are traded, we show that for some initial skill distributions, the economy may stagnate due to growth-preventing policies. Different initial skill distributions, however, lead to voting outcomes and policies in support of technological development, and to persistent economic growth. In making our argument formally, we use a dynamic model with induced heterogeneity in agents' skills. In their voting decisions, agents compare how they will be affected under each policy alternative, and then vote for the policy that maximizes their welfare.
Subject (JEL): O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models and O31 - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
Creator: Kahn, James A. (James Allan) and Lim, Jong-Soo. Series: Conference on economics and politics Abstract:
This paper analyzes the political economy of growth as an issue of intergenerational distribution. The first part of the paper develops a model of endogenous growth via human capital accumulation in an overlapping generations setting. Equilibrium growth is inefficient due to the presence of an intergenerational externality. We characterize the set of Pareto efficient paths for physical and human capital accumulation, and find that there is a continuum of efficient growth rate-interest rate combinations. The preferred combination for an infinitely-lived planner will depend on the social discount rate. Competitive equilibrium with subsidized or mandated human capital accumulation may give rise to a Pareto efficient steady state, though for some parameters efficiency requires some intergenerational redistribution. We then argue that a social planner or government with an infinite horizon is incongruous in an OG model when the agents all have finite horizons. Hence the second part of the paper addresses the question of how a government whose decisionmakers reflect the finite horizons of their constituents would choose policies that affect physical and human capital accumulation. Specifically we assume that each government maximizes a weighted sum of utilities of those currently alive. Each period the government selects a policy that takes into account the effect (through state variables) on subsequent policy decisions (and hence on the welfare of the current young generation). Numerical methods involving polynomial approximations are used to compute equilibria under specific parametric assumptions. Equilibrium growth rates turn out to be substantially below efficient rates.
Keyword: Growth, Political economy, Education, Political instability, and Markov equilibrium Subject (JEL): D91 - Intertemporal choice and growth - Intertemporal consumer choice ; Life cycle models and saving, O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models, and D72 - Analysis of collective decision-making - Models of political processes : Rent-seeking, elections, legislatures, and voting behavior