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.
Recent developments in business cycle theory are reviewed. The principal finding is that the growth model, which was developed to account for the secular patterns in important economic aggregates, displays the business cycle phenomena once it incorporates the observed randomness in the rate of technological advance. The amplitudes and serial correlation properties of fluctuations in output and employment that the growth model predicts match those historically experienced in the United States. Further, the model continues to display the growth facts it was developed to explain.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
We construct a model of the product cycle featuring endogenous innovation and endogenous technology transfer. Competitive entrepreneurs in the North expend resources to bring out new products whenever expected present discounted value of future oligopoly profits exceeds current product development costs. Each Northern oligopolist continuously faces the risk that its product will be copied by a Southern imitator, at which time its profit stream will come to an end. In the South, competitive entrepreneurs may devote resources to learning the production processes that have been developed in the North. There too, costs (of reverse engineering) must be covered by a stream of operating profits. We study the determinants of the long-run rate of growth of the world economy, and the long-run rate of technological diffusion. We also provide an analysis of the effects of exogenous events and of public policy on relative wage rates in the two regions.
Across developing countries, capital market inefficiencies tend to decrease and external borrowing tends to sharply increase as national wealth rises. We construct a simple model of intertemporal trade under asymmetric information which provides a coherent explanation of both these phenomenon, without appealing to imperfect capital mobility. The model can be applied to a number of policy issues in LDC lending, including the debt overhang problem, and the impact of government guarantees of private debt to foreign creditors. In the two-country general equilibrium version of the model, an increase in wealth in the rich country can induce a decline in investment in the poor country via a "siphoning effect". Finally, we present some new empirical evidence regarding the link between LDC borrowing and per capita income.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This paper develops a dynamic model of general imperfect competition by embedding the Shapley-Shubik model of market games into an overlapping generations framework. Existence of an open market equilibrium where there is trading at each post is demonstrated when there are an arbitrary (finite) number of commodities in each period and an arbitrary (finite) number of consumers in each generation. The open market equilibria are fully characterized when there is a single consumption good in each period and it is shown that stationary open market equilibria exist if endowments are not Pareto optimal. Two examples are also given. The first calculates the stationary equilibrium in an economy, and the second shows that the on replicating the economy the stationary equilibria converge to the unique non-autarky stationary equilibrium in the corresponding Walrasian overlapping generations economy. Preliminary on-going work indicates the possibility of cycles and other fluctuations even in the log-linear economy.
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.
We examine the conditions under which steady states with low real interest rates—real rates substantially below the output growth rate—exist in an overlapping generations model with production, capital accumulation, a labor-leisure trade-off, technological progress, and agents who live for many periods. The number of periods in an agent's life (n) is left open for much of the analysis and determines the temporal interpretation of a time period. The qualitative properties of the model are largely invariant to different values of n. We find that two low real interest rate steady states exist for empirically plausible values of the parameters of the model. Outside liabilities such as fiat currency or unbacked government debt are valued in one of these steady states.
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 examine an otherwise standard model of capital accumulation to which spatial separation and limited communication create a role for money and shocks to portfolio needs create a role for banks. In this context we examine the existence, multiplicity, and dynamical properties of monetary equilibria with positive nominal interest rates. Moderate levels of risk aversion can lead to the existence of multiple monetary steady states, all of which can be approached from a given set of initial conditions. In addition, even if there is a unique monetary steady state, monetary equilibria can be indeterminate, and oscillatory equilibrium paths can be observed. Thus financial market frictions are a potential source of both indeterminacies and endogenously arising economic volatility.
We also consider the consequences of monetary policy actions that rearrange the composition of government liabilities. Contractionary monetary policy activities can have complicated consequences, depending especially on the nature of the steady state equilibrium that obtains when there are multiple steady states. Under plausible conditions, however, a permanent contractionary change in monetary policy raises both the nominal rate of interest and the rate of inflation, and reduces long-run output levels. Thus liquidity provision by a central bank—just as by the banking system as a whole—can be growth promoting. Loose monetary policy also is conducive to avoiding development trap phenomena.
Economic development is typically accompanied by a very pronounced migration of labor from rural to urban employment. This migration, in turn, is often associated with large scale urban underemployment. Both factors appear to play a very prominent role in the process of development. We consider a model in which rural-urban migration and urban underemployment are integrated into an otherwise conventional neoclassical growth model. Unemployment arises not from any exogenous rigidities, but from an adverse selection problem in labor markets. We demonstrate that, in the most natural case, rural-urban migration—and its associated underemployment—can be a source of multiple, asymptotically stable steady state equilibria, and hence of development traps. They also easily give rise to an indeterminacy of perfect foresight equilibrium, as well as to the existence of a large set of periodic equilibria displaying undamped oscillation. Many such equilibria display long periods of uninterrupted growth and rural-urban migration, punctuated by brief but severe recessions associated with net migration from urban to rural employment. Such equilibria are argued to be broadly consistent with historical U.S. experience.
Our thesis is that poor countries are poor because they employ arrangements for which the equilibrium outcomes are characterized by inferior technologies being used, and being used inefficiently. In this paper, we analyze the consequences of one such arrangement. In each industry, the arrangement enables a coalition of factor suppliers to be the monopoly seller of its input services to all firms using a particular production process. We find that the inefficiencies associated with this monopoly arrangement can be large. Whereas other studies have found that inefficiencies induced by monopoly are at most a few percent of output, we find that eliminating this monopoly arrangement could well increase output by roughly a factor of 3 without any increase in inputs.
We ask what fraction of the variation in incomes across countries can be accounted for by investment distortions. In our neoclassical growth model the relative price of investment to consumption is a good measure of the distortions. Using data on relative prices we estimate a stochastic process for distortions and compare the resulting variance of incomes in the model to that in the data. We find that the variation of incomes in the model is roughly 4/5 of the variability of incomes in the data. Our model does well in accounting for 6 key regularities on income and investment in the data.
The paper itself is followed by three appendices: Appendix 1 describing the log-likelihood function, Appendix 2 describing the construction of labor share of income associated with the production of consumption and investment goods, and the Data Appendix.
In this paper, I estimate the impact on aggregate labor productivity of having government, rather than private industry, produce investment goods. This policy was pursued to varying degrees by Egypt, India, Turkey, among others. The policy has a large impact because there is both a direct effect (on the production function in the investment sector) and a secondary effect (on the economywide capital stock per worker). I estimate that this policy alone accounted for about one-third of Egypt's aggregate labor productivity gap with the United States during the 1960s.
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.
There is an old wisdom that reductions in tariffs force changes on producers that lead to costless, or nearly so, increases in productivity. We construct a technology-ladder model that captures this wisdom. As in other technology-ladder models, time spent in research helps propel an industry up a technology-ladder. In contrast to the literature, we include another activity that plays a role in determining an industry's position on the technology-ladder: attempts to obstruct the research program of rivals (through regulations, for example). In this world, reductions in tariffs between countries lead producers to spend more time in research and less in obstruction of rivals.
This chapter reviews the literature that tries to explain the disparity and variation of GDP per worker and GDP per capita across countries and across time. There are many potential explanations for the different patterns of development across countries, including differences in luck, raw materials, geography, preferences, and economic policies. We focus on differences in economic policies and ask to what extent can differences in policies across countries account for the observed variability in income levels and their growth rates. We review estimates for a wide range of policy variables. In many cases, the magnitude of the estimates is under debate. Estimates found by running cross-sectional growth regressions are sensitive to which variables are included as explanatory variables. Estimates found using quantitative theory depend in critical ways on values of parameters and measures of factor inputs for which there is little consensus. In this chapter, we review the ongoing debates of the literature and the progress that has been made thus far.