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.
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.