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Economic Development as Self-Discovery

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  • Hausmann, Ricardo

    (Harvard U)

  • Rodrik, Dani

    (Harvard U)

Abstract

In the presence of uncertainty about what a country can be good at producing, there can be great social value to discovering costs of domestic activities because such discoveries can be easily imitated. We develop a general-equilibrium framework for a small open economy to clarify the analytical and normative issues. We highlight two failures of the laissez-faire outcome: there is too little investment and entrepreneurship ex ante, and too much production diversification ex post. Optimal policy consists of counteracting these distortions: to encourage investments in the modern sector ex ante, but to rationalize production ex post. We provide some informal evidence on the building blocks of our model.

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Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp02-023.

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Date of creation: May 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp02-023

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  1. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2006. "The World Technology Frontier," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 499-522, June.
  2. Eduardo Lora & Ugo Panizza, 2002. "Structural Reforms in Latin America under Scrutiny," Research Department Publications 4301, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  3. Eduardo Fernández-Arias & Peter Montiel, 1997. "Reform and Growth in Latin America: All Pain, No Gain?," Research Department Publications 4078, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  4. Mukand, Sharun & Rodrik, Dani, 2002. "In Search of the Holy Grail: Policy Convergence, Experimentation and Economic Performance," Working Paper Series rwp02-027, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  5. Eduardo Lora, 2001. "Structural reforms in Latin America: What has been reformed and how to measure it?," Research Department Publications 4287, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  6. Zeira, Joseph, 1987. "Investment as a Process of Search," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 204-10, February.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2002. "Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 9066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jorg Mayer & Adrian Wood, 2001. "South Asia's Export Structure in a Comparative Perspective," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 5-29.
  9. Easterly, William & Loayza, Norman & Montiel, Peter, 1997. "Has Latin America's post-reform growth been disappointing?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3-4), pages 287-311, November.
  10. Rauch, J E & Watson, Joel, 2001. "Entrepreneurship in International Trade," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt1qx2x540, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  11. David N. Weil, 1996. "Appropriate Technology and Growth," Working Papers 96-24, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  12. Hoff, Karla, 1997. "Bayesian learning in an infant industry model," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3-4), pages 409-436, November.
  13. Wood, Adrian & Mayer, Jorg, 2001. "Africa's Export Structure in a Comparative Perspective," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(3), pages 369-94, May.
  14. Evenson, Robert E. & Westphal, Larry E., 1995. "Technological change and technology strategy," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 2209-2299 Elsevier.
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