A New Theory of Endogenous Economic Growth
The advance of useful knowledge is widely agreed to be the key factor in explaining economic growth. While many writers have sought to distinguish between "ordinary" investment, which merely imitates existing assets, and research or educational expenditures, which result in innovation, it is argued in this article that this distinction has not been made operational for a theory of economic growth, and it is very doubtful whether it can be. Instead, it seems better to recognize that all investments consist of both one innovation after another and one imitation after another, in varying proportions which cannot in aggregate be identified. Since investment changes the world, and leads to unforeseen new investment opportunities, it results in temporary monopolies as Schumpeter pointed out. Because of these monopolistic profits, which also exist because of ordinary market imperfections, average profitability exceeds marginal profitability and there is an externality to investment, with policy implications. Copyright 1992 by Oxford University Press.
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