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Vested Interests in a Positive Theory of Stagnation and Growth


  • Per Krusell
  • José-Víctor Ríos-Rull


We study a positive theory of stagnation and growth aimed at understanding the large variations in growth outcomes across actual economies. The theory points to the fundamental role played by vested interests in determining policies which are key to the growth process: some agents seek to prevent the adoption of new technologies. We develop a model of technology adoption, and show how technological innovation may sow the seeds of its own destruction. In particular, we find that the equilibrium is characterized by a long cycle of stagnation and growth. Over this cycle, incumbent innovators have sufficient political influence that new technologies are prohibited, and only as these incumbents are phased out of the economy will new innovation occur. In formalizing our theory we make a methodological contribution by characterizing dynamic voting equilibria in which voters must forecast the effects of different current policies on future prices and policy outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Per Krusell & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1996. "Vested Interests in a Positive Theory of Stagnation and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 301-329.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:63:y:1996:i:2:p:301-329.

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gali Jordi, 1994. "Local Externalities, Convex Adjustment Costs, and Sunspot Equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 242-252, October.
    2. Dimitri Vayanos & Diego Rodríguez, 1993. "Decentralization and the management of competition," Economics Working Papers 47, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    3. Oriol Amat, 1993. "The relationship between tax regulations and financial accounting: A comparison of Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom," Economics Working Papers 46, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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