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Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth

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  • Acemoglu, Daron
  • Aghion, Philippe
  • Zilibotti, Fabrizio

Abstract

We analyse an economy where managers engage both in the adoption of technologies from the world frontier and in innovation activities. The selection of high-skill managers is more important for innovation activities. As the economy approaches the technology frontier, selection becomes more important. As a result, countries at early stages of development pursue an investment-based strategy, with long-term relationships, high average size and age of firms, large average investments, but little selection. Closer to the world technology frontier, there is a switch to an innovation-based strategy with short-term relationships, younger firms, less investment and better selection of managers. We show that relatively backward economies may switch out of the investment-based strategy too soon, so certain economic institutions and policies, such as limits on product market competition or investment subsidies, which encourage the investment-based strategy may be beneficial. Societies that cannot switch out of the investment-based strategy, however, fail to converge to the world technology frontier. Non-convergence traps are more likely when policies and institutions are endogenized, enabling beneficiaries of existing policies to bribe politicians to maintain these policies.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3467.

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Date of creation: Jul 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3467

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Related research

Keywords: appropriate institutions; convergence; economic growth; imitation; innovation; political economy of growth; selection; technical change; traps;

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  1. Hassler, John & Mora , José V. Rodríguez, 1998. "IQ, Social Mobility and Growth," Seminar Papers 635, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  2. Peter Howitt & David Mayer-Foulkes, 2002. "R&D, Implementation and Stagnation: A Schumpeterian Theory of Convergence Clubs," NBER Working Papers 9104, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Brezis, Elise S & Krugman, Paul R & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1993. "Leapfrogging in International Competition: A Theory of Cycles in National Technological Leadership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1211-19, December.
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  5. Tong, Jian & Xu, Cheng-Gang, 2004. "Financial Institutions and the Wealth of Nations: Tales of Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 4348, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Zeira, Joseph, 1995. "Workers, Machines and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1139, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 1994. "Was Prometheus unbound by chance? Risk, diversification and growth," Economics Working Papers 98, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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