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.
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.
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.
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.
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.