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Smithian Growth through Creative Organization

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Author Info

  • Patrick Legros

    (ECARES, Université Libre de Bruxelles; and CEPR)

  • Andrew F. Newman

    ()
    (Boston University and CEPR)

  • Eugenio Proto

    (University of Warwick)

Abstract

We consider an endogenous growth model in which appropriate organization fosters innovation, but because of contractibility problems, this benefit cannot be internalized. The organizational design element we focus on is the division of labor, which as Adam Smith argued, facilitates invention by observers of the production process. However, entrepreneurs choose its level only to facilitate monitoring their workers. Whether there is innovation and growth depends on the interaction of the markets for labor and for inventions. Because of a credit market imperfection, the relative scarcity of entrepreneurs and workers depends on the wealth distribution. A high level of specialization is chosen when the wage share is low, i.e. when there are few wealthy. But in this case there are also few entrepreneurs and a consequent small market for innovations, which discourages inventive activity. When there are many wealthy, the innovation market is large, but the rate of invention is low because there is little specialization. Sustained technological progress and economic growth therefore require only moderate levels of inequality. The model also suggests that the growth rate need not be monotonic in the "quality of institutions," such as the degree of credit market imperfection.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number WP2007-002.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2007-002

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  1. Acemoglu, D. & Newman, A.F., 1997. "The Labor Market and Corporate Structure," Working papers 97-8, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Inci, Eren, 2013. "Occupational choice and the quality of entrepreneurs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 1-21.
  2. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Luis Garicano, 2008. "Organizing Growth," 2008 Meeting Papers 247, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Stephen L. Parente & Klaus Desmet, 2008. "The Evolution of Markets and the Revolution of Industry," 2008 Meeting Papers 688, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Shingo Ishiguro, 2007. "Organizational Dynamics," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 07-14, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  5. Andrew F. Newman & Patrick Legros, 2011. "Incomplete Contracts and Industrial Organization: A Survey," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-036, Boston University - Department of Economics.

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