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Praiseworthiness and Endogenous Growth

  • David M. Levy
  • Dalibor Roháč

This paper demonstrates that increasing returns to scale can be sustained when agents care about praiseworthiness of their conduct. Unlike the desire to attain approbation from external sources, the notion of praiseworthiness seems to have been neglected by contemporary economic literature. Yet the relevance of praiseworthiness as an internal motivational force was stressed by a number of classical economists. We construct an endogenous growth model in which agents derive utility not only from their consumption but also from praiseworthiness of their action. In such a setting, the motivation by praiseworthiness is able to generate positive and accelerating growth of output per labourer in steady state. The main implication of our model is that the existence of increasing returns depends critically on presence of sufficient approbation attributed to creativity. Furthermore, the presence or the absence of these rewards may be susceptible to explain the cross-sectional differences in growth rates, growth miracles and growth disasters.

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Article provided by University of Economics, Prague in its journal Prague Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 2009 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 220-234

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Handle: RePEc:prg:jnlpep:v:2009:y:2009:i:3:id:351:p:220-234
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  1. Levy, David M., 1999. "Adam Smith's Katallactic Model of Gambling: Approbation from the Spectator," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(01), pages 81-91, March.
  2. Cowen, Tyler & Sutter, Daniel, 1997. " Politics and the Pursuit of Fame," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 93(1-2), pages 19-35, October.
  3. Aghion, P. & Howitt, P., 1990. "A Model Of Growth Through Creative Destruction," DELTA Working Papers 90-12, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Frey, Bruno S., 1997. "On the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic work motivation1," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 427-439, July.
  7. David M. Levy, 1988. "The Market for Fame and Fortune," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 20(4), pages 615-625, Winter.
  8. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth across Countries," Scholarly Articles 3708464, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1991. "The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 503-30, May.
  10. Cowen, Tyler & Glazer, Amihai, 2007. "Esteem and ignorance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 373-383, July.
  11. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
  12. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence And Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915, August.
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