IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/qjecon/v108y1993i3p551-575..html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Kremer

Abstract

This paper proposes a production function describing processes subject to mistakes in any of several tasks. It shows that high-skill workers—those who make few mistakes—will be matched together in equilibrium, and that wages and output will rise steeply in skill. The model is consistent with large income differences between countries, the predominance of small firms in poor countries, and the positive correlation between the wages of workers in different occupations within enterprises. Imperfect observability of skill leads to imperfect matching and thus to spillovers, strategic complementarity, and multiple equilibria in education.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Kremer, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-575.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:108:y:1993:i:3:p:551-575.
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.2307/2118400
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1.
    2. W. Davis Dechert & Kazuo Nishimura, 2012. "A Complete Characterization of Optimal Growth Paths in an Aggregated Model with a Non-Concave Production Function," Springer Books, in: John Stachurski & Alain Venditti & Makoto Yano (ed.), Nonlinear Dynamics in Equilibrium Models, edition 127, chapter 0, pages 237-257, Springer.
    3. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 151-200.
    4. Donohue, John J, III & Heckman, James, 1991. "Continuous versus Episodic Change: The Impact of Civil Rights Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1603-1643, December.
    5. Sah, Raaj Kumar & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1986. "The Architecture of Economic Systems: Hierarchies and Polyarchies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 716-727, September.
    6. Russell Cooper & Andrew John, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-463.
    7. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1991. "The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 503-530.
    8. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    9. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    10. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
    11. Sobel, Joel, 1992. "How to Count to One Thousand," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(410), pages 1-8, January.
    12. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1027-1059, October.
    13. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    14. Sah, Raaj Kumar & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1985. "Human Fallibility and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 292-297, May.
    15. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
    16. Lawrence F. Katz & Lawrence H. Summers, 1989. "Industry Rents: Evidence and Implications," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1989 Micr), pages 209-290.
    17. Sattinger, Michael, 1975. "Comparative Advantage and the Distributions of Earnings and Abilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 43(3), pages 455-468, May.
    18. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-858, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Luis Garicano & Thomas N. Hubbard, 2016. "The Returns to Knowledge Hierarchies," The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(4), pages 653-684.
    2. Durlauf, Steven N. & Quah, Danny T., 1999. "The new empirics of economic growth," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 235-308, Elsevier.
    3. Nicola Gennaioli & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2013. "Human Capital and Regional Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(1), pages 105-164.
    4. Etro, Federico, 2017. "Research in economics and macroeconomics," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 373-383.
    5. Garicano, Luis & Hubbard, Thomas N., 2012. "Learning about the nature of production from equilibrium assignment patterns," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 136-153.
    6. Michael Kremer & Eric Maskin, 1996. "Wage Inequality and Segregation by Skill," NBER Working Papers 5718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Günther Rehme, 2007. "Education, Economic Growth and Measured Income Inequality," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(295), pages 493-514, August.
    8. Steven N. Durlauf & Andros Kourtellos & Chih Ming Tan, 2008. "Empirics of Growth and Development," Chapters, in: Amitava Krishna Dutt & Jaime Ros (ed.), International Handbook of Development Economics, Volumes 1 & 2, volume 0, chapter 3, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Rogers, Mark Llewellyn, 2008. "Directly unproductive schooling: How country characteristics affect the impact of schooling on growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 356-385, February.
    10. Fung, Michael K., 2009. "Financial development and economic growth: Convergence or divergence?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 56-67, February.
    11. Paul A. Coomes & Jose Fernandez & Stephan F. Gohmann, 2013. "The Rate of Proprietorship Among Metropolitan Areas: The Impact of the Local Economic Environment and Capital Resources," Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, , vol. 37(4), pages 745-770, July.
    12. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    13. Grossman, G.M., 1998. "Imperfect Labour Contracts and International Trade," Papers 205, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
    14. Sefa Awaworyi Churchill & Mehmet Ugur & Siew Ling Yew, 2017. "Does Government Size Affect Per-Capita Income Growth? A Hierarchical Meta-Regression Analysis," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 93(300), pages 142-171, March.
    15. Joëlle Noailly & Daniël Waagmeester & Bas Jacobs & Marieke Rensman & Dinand Webbink, 2005. "Scarcity of science and engineering students in the Netherlands," CPB Document 92, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    16. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1997. "The Distribution of Human Capital and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 93-124, March.
    17. Henrekson, Magnus & Rosenberg, Nathan, 2000. "Incentives for Academic Entrepreneurship and Economic Performance: Sweden and the United States," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 362, Stockholm School of Economics.
    18. Pedro Gomes & Zoe Kuehn, 2017. "Human capital and the size distribution of firms," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 164-179, October.
    19. Andros Kourtellos, 2011. "Modeling parameter heterogeneity in cross-country regression models," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 11-2011, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    20. Sjoerd Beugelsdijk, 2010. "Entrepreneurial Culture, Regional Innovativeness and Economic Growth," Springer Books, in: Andreas Freytag & Roy Thurik (ed.), Entrepreneurship and Culture, chapter 0, pages 129-154, Springer.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:108:y:1993:i:3:p:551-575.. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://academic.oup.com/qje .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Oxford University Press (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://academic.oup.com/qje .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.