In a world with two similar, developed economies, economic integration can cause a permanent increase in the worldwide rate of growth. Starting from a position of isolations, closer integration can be achieved by increasing trade in goods or by increasing flows of ideas. We consider two models with different specifications of the research and development sector that is the source of growth. Either form of integration can increase the long-run rate of growth if it encourages the worldwide exploitation of increasing returns to scale in the research and development sector.
The paper proposes a theory of ambiguous financial contracts. Leaving contractual contingencies unspecified may be optimal, even when stipulating them is costless. We show that an ambiguous contract has two advantages. First, it permits the guarantor to sacrifice reputational capital in order to preserve financial capital as well as information reusability in states where such tradeoff is optimal. Second, it fosters the development of reputation. This theory is then used to explain ambiguity in mutual fund contracts, bank loan commitments, bank holding company relationships, the investment banker's "highly confident" letter, non-recourse debt contracts in project financing, and other financial contracts.
In this paper we study the relationship between wealth, income distribution and growth in a game-theoretic context in which property rights are not completely enforcable. We consider equilibrium paths of accumulation which yield players utilities that are at least as high as those that they could obtain by appropriating higher consumption at the present and suffering retaliation later on. We focus on those subgame perfect equilibria which are constrained Pareto-efficient (second best). In this set of equilibria we study how the level of wealth affects growth. In particular we consider cases which produce classical traps (with standard concave technologies): growth may not be possible from low levels of wealth because of incentive constraints while policies (sometimes even first-best policies) that lead to growth are sustainable as equilibria from high levels of wealth. We also study cases which we classify as the "Mancur Olson" type: first best policies are used at low levels of wealth along these constrained Pareto efficient equilibria, but first best policies are not sustainable at higher levels of wealth where growth slows down. We also consider the unequal weighting of players to ace the subgame perfect equiliria on the constrained Pareto frontier. We explore the relation between sustainable growth rates and the level of inequality in the distribution of income.
How much technological progress has there been in structures? An attempt is made to measure this using panel data on the age and rents for buildings. This data is interpreted through the eyes of a vintage capital model where buildings are replaced at some chosen periodicity. There appears to have been significant technological advance in structures that accounts for a major part of economic growth.
This paper develops a unified model of growth, population, and technological progress that is consistent with long-term historical evidence. The economy endogenously evolves through three phases. In the Malthusian regime, population growth is positively related to the level of income per capita. Technological progress is slow and is matched by proportional increases in population, so that output per capita is stable around a constant level. In the post-Malthusian regime, the growth rates of technology and total output increase. Population growth absorbs much of the growth of output, but income per capita does rise slowly. The economy endogenously undergoes a demographic transition in which the traditionally positive relationship between income per capita and population growth is reversed. In the Modern Growth regime, population growth is moderate or even negative, and income per capita rises rapidly. Two forces drive the transitions between regimes: First, technological progress is driven both by increases in the size of the population and by increases in the average level of education. Second, technological progress creates a state of disequilibrium, which raises the return to human capital and induces parents to substitute child quality for quantity.
We estimate the effects of policy distortions on aggregate productivity. Based on a model of plant production and productivity uncertainty and heterogeneity, and using Chilean manufacturing data, we focus on the effect of taxation on the exit behavior of plants. We find that taxes do distort the liquidation decisions of firms, suggesting that policy distortions reduce the extent to which factors are reallocated towards the most productive plants. Our results have important consequences for growth and development, as policies that alter the measure of plants that operate in equilibrium change the short-run response of output to exogenous shocks and the long run level of aggregate TFP. In particular, we find that the amount of productivity lost due to excessive plant shutdowns are very large.
This paper proposes a model of diversifiable uncertainty, irreversible investment decisions, and endogenous growth. The detailed microeconomic structure of the model makes it possible to study the. general equilibrium effects of obstacles to labor mobility, due to institutional as well as technological features of the economy. Labor mobility costs reduce private returns to investment, and the resulting slower rate of endogenous growth unambiguously lowers a representative individual's welfare. Turnover costs can have positive effects on full employment equilibrium wages when all external effects are disregarded: this may help explain why policy and institutions often tend to decrease labor mobility in reality, rather than to enhance it. Lower flexibility, however, reduces the growth rate of wages in endogenous growth equilibrium, with negative welfare effects even for agents who own only labor.
A number of theoretical models of technology adoption have been proposed that emphasize technological switching, loss of expertise and subsequent technology-specific learning. These models imply that measured productivity may initially fall and then later rise after the adoption of a new technology. This paper investigates whether or not this implication is a feature of plant-level data from the Colombian manufacturing sector. We regress measures of productivity growth at the plant level on a plant-specific measure of technology adoption and its lagged values. We find that...
We explain how a long period of slow pre-industrial development triggers an Industrial Revolution that leads to modern balanced growth. Development in the preindustrial period is driven by increasing returns to specialization made possible by a growing population. Increasing access to specialized intermediate goods eventually makes fundamental technological innovation possible. Innovation initiates the Industrial Revolution, after which productivity grows endogenously regardless of population growth. Industrialization reconciles the crucial role of population early on with its weak relation to per capita product in developed economies. Faster population growth speeds early development, though if it results from a highly productive primitive technology, the consequences for development are ambiguous.
This paper develops a dynamic general equilibrium model of economic growth. The model has a steady state equilibrium in which some firms devote resources to discovering qualitatively improved products and other firms devote resources to copying these products. Rates of both innovation and imitation are endogenously determined based on the outcomes of R&D races between firms. Innovation subsidies are shown to unambiguously promote economic growth. Welfare is only enhanced however if the steady state intensity of innovative effort exceeds a critical level.
Technology change is modeled as the result of decisions of individuals and groups of individuals to adopt more advanced technologies. The structure is calibrated to the U.S. and postwar Japan growth experiences. Using this calibrated structure we explore how large the disparity in the effective tax rates on the returns to adopting technologies must be to account for the huge observed disparity in per capita income across countries. We find that this disparity is not implausibly large.
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.
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.
We incorporate the consumption-ability relationship of static "efficiency wage" models into a dynamic general equilibrium model. We show that for many aggregate land stocks, there is a continuum of unemployment rates which could persist indefinitely as part of a stationary equilibrium. For many of these aggregate land stocks, both unemployment and full employment are distrinct possibilities. Broadly speaking, more unemployment corresponds to more undernourishment and more inequality in land distribution. Thus our results suggest that the market mechanism is less efficacious than land reform in reducing unemployment and undernourishment.
Results in Lucas (1987) suggest that if public policy can affect the growth rate of the economy, the welfare implications of alternative policies will be large. In this paper, a stochastic, dynamic general equilibrium model with endogenous growth and money is examined. In this setting, inflation lowers growth through its effect on the return to work. However, the welfare costs of higher inflation are extremely modest.
This paper presents a model of growth through technical progress. The nature and scope of what is learned is derived from a set of axioms, and optimal search behavior by agents is then analyzed. Agents can search intensively or extensively. Intensive search explores a technology in greater depth, while extensive search yields new technologies. Agents alternate between these two modes of search. The economy grows forever and the growth rate is bounded away from zero. The growth rate is on average higher during periods of intensive search than during periods of extensive search. Epochs of higher growth are initiated by discoveries that call for further intensive exploration. This mechanism is reminiscent of the process described by Schumpeter as causing long-wave business cycles. Serial correlation properties of output and growth stem from the presence of intensive rather than extensive search. The two key parameters are technological opportunity and the cost of the extensive search.
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.
Current approaches to monetary theory and policy owe much to the "quantity theory of money." However, recent theoretical developments suggest that the manner in which money is introduced is more important, even for price level movements, than the quantity of money. Colonial American experience provides a laboratory for discriminating between these views. It is shown here that the nature of backing, rather than the quantity of money, determined its value. Large secular inflations were ended by changing the nature of backing despite the continuance of large note issues (and despite the absence of a metallic standard). Extremely large note issues and note withdrawals are shown not to have produced inflation (currency depreciation) or deflation (currency appreciation).
Recent developments in monetary economics stress the nature of monetary injections, emphasizing that these have implications for the relationship between money and prices. In constrast, traditional approaches posit stable money demand functions that are independent of how money is injected. The former approach implies that certain proportionality relations between money and prices need not obtain. This permits the two approaches to be empirically distinguished, but only if an appropriate "experiment" is conducted. The colonial period is one such experiment. Colonial evidence suggests that the nature of injections is crucial to the effect on prices of changes in the money supply.
We consider a two country growth model with international capital markets. These markets fund capital investment in both countries, and operate subject to a costly state verification (CSV) problem. Investors in each country require some external finance, but also provide internal finance, which mitigates the CSV problem. When two identical (except for their initial capital stocks) economies are closed, they necessarily converge monotonically to the same steady state output level. Unrestricted international financial trade precludes otherwise identical economies from converging, and poor countries are necessarily net lenders to rich countries. Oscillation in real activity and international capital flows can occur.
We present a model of vintage human capital. The economy exhibits exogenous deterministic technological change. Technology requires skills that are specific to the vintage. A stationary competitive equilibrium is defined and shown to exist and be unique, as well as Pareto optimal. The stationary equilibrium is characterized by an endogenous distribution of skilled workers across vintages. The distribution is shown to be single peaked, and under general conditions there is a lag between the time when a technology appears and the peak of its usage, what is known as diffusion. An increase in the rate of exogenous technological charge shirts the distribution of human capital to more recent vintages and increases the relative wage of the unskilled workers in each vintage.
These notes are intended as a do-it-yourself course in economic growth along lines suggested by Lucas ("On the Mechanics of Economic Development"). We examine in turn the neoclassical growth model; theories of endogenous growth, including learning-by-doing, increasing returns to scale, and externalities; and dynamic comparative advantage in trade. Salient features of growing economies and microeconomic evidence on production processes are used to evaluate alternatives. Exercises supplement the text.
We look for the scale effects on growth predicted by some theories of trade and growth based on dynamic returns to scale at the national or industry level. The increasing returns can arise from learning by doing, investment in human capital, research and development, or development of new products. We find some evidence of a relation between growth rates and the measures of scale implied by the learning by doing theory, especially total manufacturing. With respect to human capital, there is some evidence of a relation between growth rates and per capita measures of inputs into the human capital accumulation process, but little evidence of a relation with the scale of inputs. There is also little evidence that growth rates are related to measures of inputs into R&D. We find, however, that growth rates are related to measures of intra-industry trade, particularly when we control for scale of industry.
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.
A model is constructed where banks provide access to a communication technology which facilitates trade. Bank liabilities may coexist with alternative means of payment in equilibrium, and there exist regions of the parameter space where banking dominates the payments system and where physical exchange media dominate. The model is consistent with some observations concerning the role of the banking system in economic development, and with characteristics of banking crises. In particular, in early stages of economic development: 1) rapid output growth is accompanied by an increasing share of banking in transactions activity and 2) there are recurrent banking "panics" where reductions in measured aggregate output coincide with increases in the use of alternative means of payment relative to bank liabilities. In later stages of development, growth slackens off, the share of banking in the payments system stabilizes and the economy is less likely to be subject to banking panics.
A paradigm is presented where both the extent of financial intermediation and the rate of economic growth are endogenously determined. Financial intermediation promotes growth because it allows a higher rate of return to be earned on capital, and growth in turn provides the means to implement costly financial structures. Thus, financial intermediation and economic growth are inextricably linked in accord with the Goldsmith-McKinnon-Shaw view on economic development. The model also generates a development cycle reminiscent of the Kuznets hypothesis. In particular, in the transition from a primitive slow-growing economy to a developed fast-growing one, a nation passes through a stage where the distribution of wealth across the rich and poor widens.