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.
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.
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...
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 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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.