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Externalities and Growth Accounting

  • Benhabib, Jess
  • Jovanovic, Boyan

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.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 81 (1991)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 82-113

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:81:y:1991:i:1:p:82-113
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  1. Mansfield, Edwin, et al, 1977. "Social and Private Rates of Return from Industrial Innovations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 221-40, May.
  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.
  3. Baumol, William J & Wolff, Edward N, 1988. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1155-59, December.
  4. 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.
  5. Shleifer, Andrei, 1986. "Implementation Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(6), pages 1163-90, December.
  6. Jovanovic, Boyan & Rob, Rafael, 1989. "The Growth and Diffusion of Knowledge," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(4), pages 569-82, October.
  7. Jovanovic, Boyan & MacDonald, Glenn M., 1988. "Competitive Diffusion," Working Papers 88-29, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  8. Lach, Saul & Schankerman, Mark, 1989. "Dynamics of R&D and Investment in the Scientific Sector," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 880-904, August.
  9. Adam B. Jaffe, 1986. "Technological Opportunity and Spillovers of R&D: Evidence from Firms' Patents, Profits and Market Value," NBER Working Papers 1815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Interindustry Technology Flows and Productivity Growth: A Reexamination," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 241-250 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1986. "Are Output Fluctuations Transitory?," NBER Working Papers 1916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Cochrane, John H, 1988. "How Big Is the Random Walk in GNP?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 893-920, October.
  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. 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.
  15. Ariel Pakes & Mark Schankerman, 1984. "The Rate of Obsolescence of Patents, Research Gestation Lags, and the Private Rate of Return to Research Resources," NBER Chapters, in: R&D, Patents, and Productivity, pages 73-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Barro, Robert J, 1988. "The Persistence of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 32-37, May.
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