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A theory of growth and volatility at the aggregate and firm level

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  • Comin, Diego
  • Mulani, Sunil

Abstract

We present an endogenous growth model that explains the evolution of the first and second moments of productivity growth at the aggregate and firm level during the post-war period. Growth is driven by the development of both (i) idiosyncratic R&D innovations and (ii) general innovations that can be freely adopted by many firms. Firm-level volatility is affected primarily by the Schumpeterian dynamics associated with the development of R&D innovations. The variance of aggregate productivity growth is driven by the arrival rate of general innovations. Ceteris paribus, the share of resources spent on development of general innovations increases with the stability of the market share of the industry leader. As market shares become less persistent, the model predicts an endogenous shift in the allocation of resources from the development of general innovations to the development of R&D innovations. This results in an increase in R&D, an increase in firm-level volatility, and a decline in aggregate volatility. The effect on productivity growth is ambiguous. On the empirical side, this paper presents new cross-country evidence that R&D subsidies are not significantly associated with higher growth but are associated with lower aggregate volatility. It also documents an upward trend in the instability of market shares, a positive association between firm volatility and R&D spending, and a negative association across sectors between R&D and how correlated the sector is with the rest of the economy.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Monetary Economics.

Volume (Year): 56 (2009)
Issue (Month): 8 (November)
Pages: 1023-1042

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Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:56:y:2009:i:8:p:1023-1042

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505566

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Keywords: Endogenous growth Aggregate volatility Firm-level volatility Innovation;

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References

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  1. Samuel S. Kortum, 1997. "Research, Patenting, and Technological Change," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1389-1420, November.
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  14. Stephen Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2006. "Volatility and Dispersion in Business Growth Rates: Publicly Traded Versus Privately Held Firms," Working Papers 06-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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  27. repec:fth:coluec:465 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Diego Comin & Sunil Mulani, 2006. "Diverging Trends in Aggregate and Firm Volatility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 374-383, May.
  29. Thesmar, David & Thoenig, Mathias, 2004. "Financial Market Development and the Rise in Firm Level Uncertainty," CEPR Discussion Papers 4761, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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