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Quality Ladders in the Theory of Growth

  • Grossman, Gene M
  • Helpman, Elhanan

The authors develop a model of repeated product improvements in a continuum of sectors. Each product follows a stochastic progression up a quality ladder. Progress is not uniform across sectors, so an equilibrium distribution of quality evolves over time. But the rate of aggregate growth is constant. The growth rate responds to profit incentives in the R&D sector. The authors explore the welfare properties of the model. Then they relate their approach to an alternative one that views product innovation as a process of generating an ever-expanding range of horizontally differentiated products. Finally, the authors apply the model to issues of resource accumulation and international trade. Copyright 1991 by The Review of Economic Studies Limited.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 58 (1991)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 43-61

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Handle: RePEc:bla:restud:v:58:y:1991:i:1:p:43-61
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  1. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-71, September.
  2. Loury, Glenn C, 1979. "Market Structure and Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 395-410, August.
  3. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-51, March.
  4. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  5. Partha Dasgupta & Joseph Stiglitz, 1980. "Uncertainty, Industrial Structure, and the Speed of R&D," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(1), pages 1-28, Spring.
  6. Judd, Kenneth L, 1985. "On the Performance of Patents," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 567-85, May.
  7. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
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