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The role of factor substitution in the theory of economic growth and income distribution: Two examples

Listed author(s):
  • Turnovsky, Stephen J.

While much empirical evidence suggests that the Cobb-Douglas production function may be a reasonable benchmark for aggregate analysis, we argue that the practice, particularly prevalent in contemporary growth theory, of adopting the Cobb-Douglas technology, may lead to misleading implications. Using two examples, we show that key implications of the models are highly sensitive to small deviations of the elasticity of substitution from unity. The first employs the standard neoclassical model and emphasizes the sensitivity of the speed of convergence to small changes in the elasticity of substitution. This in turn has profound consequences for wealth and income distribution. The second deals with foreign aid and highlights how the relative merits of "tied" versus "untied" aid are also very sensitive to the elasticity of substitution.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 30 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 604-629

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:30:y:2008:i:2:p:604-629
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622617

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  18. Chatterjee, Santanu & Sakoulis, Georgios & Turnovsky, Stephen J., 2003. "Unilateral capital transfers, public investment, and economic growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(6), pages 1077-1103, December.
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