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A theory of growth and volatility at the aggregate and firm level

  • Diego Comin
  • Sunil Mulani

This paper presents an endogenous growth model that explains the evolution of the first and second moments of productivity growth at the aggregate and firm level during the post-war period. Growth is driven by the development of both (i) idiosyncratic R&D innovations and (ii) general innovations that can be freely adopted by many firms. Firm-level volatility is affected primarily by the Schumpeterian dynamics associated with the development of R&D innovations. On the other hand, the variance of aggregate productivity growth is determined mainly by the arrival rate of general innovations. Ceteris paribus, the share of resources spent on development of general innovations increases with the stability of the market share of the industry leader. As market shares become less persistent, the model predicts an endogenous shift in the allocation of resources from the development of general innovations to the development of R&D innovations. This results in an increase in R&D, an increase in firm-level volatility, and a decline in aggregate volatility. The effect on productivity growth is ambiguous. ; On the empirical side, this paper documents an upward trend in the instability of market shares. It shows that firm volatility is positively associated with R&D spending, and that R&D is negatively associated with the correlation of growth between sectors which leads to a decline in aggregate volatility.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its journal Proceedings.

Volume (Year): (2007)
Issue (Month): Nov ()
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfpr:y:2007:i:nov:x:10
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  5. Zvi Griliches, 1985. "Productivity, R&d, and Basic Research at the Firm Level in the 1970s," NBER Working Papers 1547, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2006. "Volatility and Dispersion in Business Growth Rates: Publicly Traded versus Privately Held Firms," NBER Working Papers 12354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  18. Dinopoulos, Elias & Thompson, Peter, 1998. "Schumpeterian Growth without Scale Effects," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 313-35, December.
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  20. Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Growth: With or Without Scale Effects?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 139-144, May.
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  22. Garey Ramey & Valerie A. Ramey, 1994. "Cross-Country Evidence on the Link Between Volatility and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Miles Parker, 2006. "Diverging Trends in Aggregate and Firm-Level Volatility in the UK," Discussion Papers 16, Monetary Policy Committee Unit, Bank of England.
  24. Zvi Griliches, 1980. "Returns to Research and Development Expenditures in the Private Sector," NBER Chapters, in: New Developments in Productivity Measurement, pages 419-462 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Diego Comin & Sunil Mulani, 2006. "Diverging Trends in Aggregate and Firm Volatility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 374-383, May.
  26. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1981. "Productivity and R and D at the Firm Level," NBER Working Papers 0826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Thesmar, David & Thoenig, Mathias, 2004. "Financial Market Development and the Rise in Firm Level Uncertainty," CEPR Discussion Papers 4761, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  29. Daniel J. Wilson, 2005. "Beggar thy neighbor? the in-state vs. out-of-state impact of state R&D tax credits," Working Paper Series 2005-08, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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