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History and Coordination Failure


  • Adsera, Alicia
  • Ray, Debraj


An extensive literature discusses the existence of a virtuous circle of expectations that might lead communities to Pareto-superior states among multiple potential equilibria. It is generally accepted that such multiplicity stems fundamentally from the presence of positive agglomeration externalities. We examine a two-sector model in this class and look for intertemporal perfect foresight equilibria. It turns out that under some plausible conditions, positive externalities must coexist with external diseconomies elsewhere in the model, for there to exist equilibria that break free of historical initial conditions. Our main distinguishing assumption is that the positive agglomeration externalities appear with a time lag (that can be made vanishingly small). Then, in the absence of external diseconomies elsewhere, the long-run behaviour of the economy resembles that predicted by myopic adjustment. This finding is independent of the degree of forward-looking behavior exhibited by the agents. Copyright 1998 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Adsera, Alicia & Ray, Debraj, 1998. "History and Coordination Failure," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 267-276, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:3:y:1998:i:3:p:267-76

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1993. "Factor Shares and Savings in Endogenous Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1184-1198, December.
    2. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1997. "Technological Progress, Mobility, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 363-382, June.
    3. Roberto Perotti, 1993. "Political Equilibrium, Income Distribution, and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(4), pages 755-776.
    4. Venieris, Yiannis P & Gupta, Dipak K, 1986. "Income Distribution and Sociopolitical Instability as Determinants of Savings: A Cross-sectional Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 873-883, August.
    5. Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa & Eve Caroli & Philippe Aghion, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1615-1660, December.
    6. Roland Bénabou, 1996. "Inequality and Growth," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 11-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    8. Ahluwalia, Montek S., 1976. "Inequality, poverty and development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 307-342, December.
    9. repec:dau:papers:123456789/10091 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Anand, Sudhir & Kanbur, S. M. R., 1993. "The Kuznets process and the inequality--development relationship," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 25-52, February.
    11. Papanek, Gustav F. & Kyn, Oldrich, 1986. "The effect on income distribution of development, the growth rate and economic strategy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 55-65, September.
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