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Creator: Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 527 Abstract:
This essay reviews the development of neoclassical growth theory, a unified theory of aggregate economic phenomena that was first used to study business cycles and aggregate labor supply. Subsequently, the theory has been used to understand asset pricing, growth miracles and disasters, monetary economics, capital accounts, aggregate public finance, economic development, and foreign direct investment.
The focus of this essay is on real business cycle (RBC) methodology. Those who employ the discipline behind the methodology to address various quantitative questions come up with essentially the same answer—evidence that the theory has a life of its own, directing researchers to essentially the same conclusions when they apply its discipline. Deviations from the theory sometimes arise and remain open for a considerable period before they are resolved by better measurement and extensions of the theory. Elements of the discipline include selecting a model economy or sometimes a set of model economies. The model used to address a specific question or issue must have a consistent set of national accounts with all the accounting identities holding. In addition, the model assumptions must be consistent across applications and be consistent with micro as well as aggregate observations. Reality is complex, and any model economy used is necessarily an abstraction and therefore false. This does not mean, however, that model economies are not useful in drawing scientific inference.
The vast number of contributions made by many researchers who have used this methodology precludes reviewing them all in this essay. Instead, the contributions reviewed here are ones that illustrate methodological points or extend the applicability of neoclassical growth theory. Of particular interest will be important developments subsequent to the Cooley (1995) volume, Frontiers of Business Cycle Research. The interaction between theory and measurement is emphasized because this is the way in which hard quantitative sciences progress.
Mot-clé: Development, Aggregate economic theory, Prosperities, RBC methodology, Aggregation, Aggregate financial economics, Neoclassical growth theory, Business cycle fluctuations, and Depressions Assujettir: E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics: General, C10 - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General, E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General, E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and B40 - Economic Methodology: General
Creator: Goodfriend, Marvin and McDermott, John H. Series: Economic growth and development Abstract:
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.
Mot-clé: Growth and Industrial Revolution Assujettir: O11 - Economic development - Macroeconomic analyses of economic development and N10 - Macroeconomics and monetary economics ; Growth and fluctuations - General, international, or comparative
Creator: Greenwood, Jeremy, 1953- and Jovanovic, Boyan, 1951- Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 446 Abstract:
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.
Mot-clé: Kuznets curve, Rate of return, Income gap, Income distribution, Growth rate, and Financial intermediation Assujettir: G00 - Financial Economics: General and O11 - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 396 Abstract:
In this paper, we extend the growth model to include firm-specific technology capital and use it to assess the gains from opening to foreign direct investment. A firm’s technology capital is its unique know-how from investing in research and development, brands, and organization capital. Technology capital is distinguished from other forms of capital in that a firm can use it simultaneously in multiple domestic and foreign locations. A country can exploit foreign technology capital by permitting direct investment by foreign multinationals. In both steady-state and transitional analyses, the extended growth model predicts large gains to being open.
Mot-clé: Foreign direct investment and Openness Assujettir: O11 - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development, F43 - Economic Growth of Open Economies, and F23 - Multinational Firms; International Business
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 651 Abstract:
A framework is developed with what we call technology capital. A country is a measure of locations. Absent policy constraints, a firm owning a unit of technology capital can produce the composite output good using the unit of technology capital at as many locations as it chooses. But it can operate only one operation at a given location, so the number of locations is what constrains the number of units it operates using this unit of technology capital. If it has two units of technology capital, it can operate twice as many operations at every location. In this paper, aggregation is carried out and the aggregate production functions for the countries are derived. Our framework interacts well with the national accounts in the same way as does the neoclassical growth model. It also interacts well with the international accounts. There are constant returns to scale, and therefore no monopoly rents. Yet there are gains to being economically integrated. In the framework, a country’s openness is measured by the effect of its policies on the productivity of foreign operations. Our analysis indicates that there are large gains to this openness.
Mot-clé: Openness and Foreign direct investment Assujettir: O11 - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development, F23 - Multinational Firms; International Business, and F43 - Economic Growth of Open Economies
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 256 Abstract:
We show that in a dynamic Heckscher-Ohlin model the timing of a country’s development relative to the rest of the world affects the path of the country’s development. A country that begins the development process later than most of the rest of the world—a late-bloomer—ends up with a permanently lower level of income than the early-blooming countries that developed earlier. This is true even though the late-bloomer has the same preferences, technology, and initial capital stock that the early-bloomers had when they started the process of development. This result stands in stark contrast to that of the standard one-sector growth model in which identical countries converge to a unique steady state, regardless of when they start to develop.
Mot-clé: Convergence Trade and Growth and Two Sector Growth Models Assujettir: O11 - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development, F11 - Neoclassical Models of Trade, and O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
Creator: Herrendorf, Berthold, Schmitz, James Andrew, and Teixeira, Arilton Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 425 Abstract:
We study the effects of large transportation costs on economic development. We argue that the Midwest and the Northeast of the U.S. is a natural case because starting from 1840 decent data is available showing that the two regions shared key characteristics with today’s developing countries and that transportation costs were large and then came way down. To disentangle the effects of the large reduction in transportation costs from those of other changes that happened during 1840–1860, we build a model that speaks to the distribution of people across regions and across the sectors of production. We find that the large reduction in transportation costs was a quantitatively important force behind the settlement of the Midwest and the regional specialization that concentrated agriculture in the Midwest and industry in the Northeast. Moreover, we find that it led to the convergence of the regional per capita incomes measured in current regional prices and that it increased real GDP per capita. However, the increase in real GDP per capita is considerably smaller than that resulting from the productivity growth in the nontransportation sectors.
Mot-clé: Regional income covergence, Transportation costs, Settlement, and Structural transformation Assujettir: O11 - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development, O18 - Economic Development: Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure, and O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
Creator: Kehoe, Timothy Jerome, 1953- and Ruhl, Kim J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 453 Abstract:
Following its opening to trade and foreign investment in the mid-1980s, Mexico’s economic growth has been modest at best, particularly in comparison with that of China. Comparing these countries and reviewing the literature, we conclude that the relation between openness and growth is not a simple one. Using standard trade theory, we find that Mexico has gained from trade, and by some measures, more so than China. We sketch out a theory in which developing countries can grow faster than the United States by reforming. As a country becomes richer, this sort of catch-up becomes more difficult. Absent continuing reforms, Chinese growth is likely to slow down sharply, perhaps leaving China at a level less than Mexico’s real GDP per working-age person.
Assujettir: E23 - Macroeconomics: Production, F14 - Empirical Studies of Trade, E65 - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes, O20 - Development Planning and Policy: General, O47 - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence, and O10 - Economic Development: General
Creator: Parente, Stephen L. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 333 Abstract:
This essay develops a theory of the evolution of international income levels. In particular, it augments the Hansen-Prescott theory of economic development with the Parente-Prescott theory of relative efficiencies and shows that the unified theory accounts for the evolution of international income levels over the last millennium. The essence of this unified theory is that a country starts to experience sustained increases in its living standard when production efficiency reaches a critical point. Countries reach this critical level of efficiency at different dates not because they have access to different stocks of knowledge, but rather because they differ in the amount of society-imposed constraints on the technology choices of their citizenry.
Mot-clé: Catch-up, Trading clubs, Capital share, Transition to modern economic growth, and Aggregate economic efficiency Assujettir: O11 - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development, E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics: General, F40 - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance: General, and O19 - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
Creator: Chari, V. V., Kehoe, Patrick J., and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 204 Abstract:
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.
Assujettir: O57 - Comparative Studies of Countries, O11 - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development, O10 - Economic Development: General, and H20 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue: General