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A gold rush theory of economic development

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  • Ralph Ossa

Abstract

This paper presents a model of social learning about the suitability of local conditions for new business ventures and explores its implications for the microeconomic patterns of economic development. I show that: i) firms tend to ‘rush’ into business ventures with which other firms have had surprising success thus causing development to be ‘lumpy’; ii) sufficient business confidence is crucial for fostering economic growth; iii) development may involve wave-like patterns of growth where successive business ventures are first pursued and then given up; iv) there is, nevertheless, no guarantee that firms pursue the best venture even in the long-run.
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Suggested Citation

  • Ralph Ossa, 2013. "A gold rush theory of economic development," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 107-117, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jecgeo:v:13:y:2013:i:1:p:107-117
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jeg/lbs002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rhee, Yung Whee, 1990. "The catalyst model of development: Lessons from Bangladesh's success with garment exports," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 333-346, February.
    2. Chamley,Christophe P., 2004. "Rational Herds," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521530927, March.
    3. Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1998. "Miracle on Sixth Avenue: Information Externalities and Search," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 60-74, January.
    4. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2003. "Economic development as self-discovery," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 603-633.
    5. Ricardo Hausmann & Jason Hwang & Dani Rodrik, 2007. "What you export matters," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 1-25, March.
    6. Chamley,Christophe P., 2004. "Rational Herds," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521824019, March.
    7. Hoff, Karla, 1997. "Bayesian learning in an infant industry model," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3-4), pages 409-436, November.
    8. Jose Luis Evia & Osvaldo Nina & Miguel Urquiola & Lykke Andersen & Eduardo Antelo, 1999. "Geography and Development in Bolivia: Migration, Urban and Industrial Concentration, Welfare, and Convergence: 1950-1992," Research Department Publications 3085, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    9. Evenson, Robert E. & Westphal, Larry E., 1995. "Technological change and technology strategy," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 2209-2299 Elsevier.
    10. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 1993. "Sectoral Shocks, Learning, and Aggregate Fluctuations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(4), pages 777-794.
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    Cited by:

    1. Behrens, Kristian & Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric, 2015. "Agglomeration Theory with Heterogeneous Agents," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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