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Intermediate Goods and Weak Links in the Theory of Economic Development

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  • Charles I. Jones

Abstract

What explains the enormous differences in incomes across countries? This paper returns to two old ideas: linkages and complementarity. First, linkages between firms through intermediate goods deliver a multiplier similar to the one associated with capital in a neoclassical growth model. Because the intermediate goods share of output is about one-half, this multiplier is substantial. Second, just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, problems along a production chain can sharply reduce output under complementarity. These forces considerably amplify distortions to the allocation of resources, bringing us closer to understanding large income differences across countries.(JEL: D57, E23, O1O, O47)

Suggested Citation

  • Charles I. Jones, 2011. "Intermediate Goods and Weak Links in the Theory of Economic Development," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-28, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:3:y:2011:i:2:p:1-28
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.3.2.1
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D57 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Input-Output Tables and Analysis
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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