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Equilibrium Imitation and Growth

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  • Jesse Perla
  • Christopher Tonetti

Abstract

The least productive agents in an economy can be vital in generating growth by spurring technology diffusion. We develop an analytically tractable model in which growth is created as a positive externality from risk taking by firms at the bottom of the productivity distribution imitating more productive firms. Heterogeneous firms choose to produce or pay a cost and search within the economy to upgrade their technology. Sustained growth comes from the feedback between the endogenously determined distribution of productivity, as evolved from past search decisions, and an optimal, forward-looking search policy. The growth rate depends on characteristics of the productivity distribution, with a thicker-tailed distribution leading to more growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Jesse Perla & Christopher Tonetti, 2014. "Equilibrium Imitation and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(1), pages 52-76.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/674362
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/674362
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. König, Michael & Lorenz, Jan & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2016. "Innovation vs. imitation and the evolution of productivity distributions," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 11(3), September.
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    7. Juan Carlos Cordoba & Genevieve Verdier, 2005. "Lucas vs. Lucas: On Inequality and Growth," Macroeconomics 0511021, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Francisco Buera, 2014. "The Global Diffusion of Ideas," 2014 Meeting Papers 1099, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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