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Must the Growth Rate Decline? Baumol's Unbalanced Growth Revisited

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  • Oulton, Nicholas

Abstract

According to Baumol's model of unbalanced growth, if resources are shifting towards industries where productivity is growing relatively slowly, the aggregate productivity growth rate will slow down. This conclusion is often applied to the advanced economies, where resources are indeed shifting towards the relatively stagnant service industries. But Baumol's conclusion only follows logically if the stagnant industries produce final products. If instead they produce intermediate products, the aggregate productivity growth rate may rise rather than fall. This is empirically relevant since the most rapidly expanding service industries, e.g. business services, are producing mainly for intermediate use. Copyright 2001 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Oulton, Nicholas, 2001. "Must the Growth Rate Decline? Baumol's Unbalanced Growth Revisited," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 605-627, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:53:y:2001:i:4:p:605-27
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    1. Ramana Ramaswamy & Bob Rowthorn, 1997. "Deindustrialization; Causes and Implications," IMF Working Papers 97/42, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Charles R. Hulten, 1978. "Growth Accounting with Intermediate Inputs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(3), pages 511-518.
    3. Baumol, William J, 1972. "Macroeconomics of Unbalanced Growth: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 150-150, March.
    4. D. W. Jorgenson & Z. Griliches, 1967. "The Explanation of Productivity Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 249-283.
    5. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Productivity, R&D, and the Data Constraint," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 347-374 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Barro, Robert J, 1999. "Notes on Growth Accounting," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 119-137, June.
    7. Zvi Griliches, 1992. "Output Measurement in the Service Sectors," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gril92-1, June.
    8. Baumol, William J & Wolff, Edward N, 1984. "On Interindustry Differences in Absolute Productivity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(6), pages 1017-1034, December.
    9. Stiroh, Kevin J, 1998. "Computers, Productivity, and Input Substitution," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(2), pages 175-191, April.
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