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Externalities and Growth Accounting

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  • Benhabib, Jess
  • Jovanovic, Boyan

Abstract

This paper tackles two puzzles: the high empirical elasticity of aggregte output with respect to the measured capital input and the seemingly high variability of growth rates over countries in the medium run. We find that one need not invoke increasing returns or externalities to capital to explain these two puzzles. Rather, they are consistent with a constant-returns-to-scale aggregate production function, so long as the exogenous Solow residual process has enough persistence in it. In our model, causality runs exclusively from knowledge to capital, and therefore the apparent absence of an external effect to the capital input says nothing about the importance of spillovers in the creation of knowledge. Copyright 1991 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Benhabib, Jess & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1991. "Externalities and Growth Accounting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 82-113, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:81:y:1991:i:1:p:82-113
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    1. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1987. "Are Output Fluctuations Transitory?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(4), pages 857-880.
    2. Benhabib, Jess & Nishimura, Kazuo, 1989. "Stochastic Equilibrium Oscillations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(1), pages 85-102, February.
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    11. Paul M. Romer, 1987. "Crazy Explanations for the Productivity Slowdown," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 163-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Edwin Mansfield & John Rapoport & Anthony Romeo & Samuel Wagner & George Beardsley, 1977. "Social and Private Rates of Return from Industrial Innovations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 91(2), pages 221-240.
    13. Nelson, Charles R. & Plosser, Charles I., 1982. "Trends and random walks in macroeconmic time series : Some evidence and implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 139-162.
    14. Blume, Lawrence & Easley, David & O'Hara, Maureen, 1982. "Characterization of optimal plans for stochastic dynamic programs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 221-234, December.
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