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A Gold Rush Theory of Economic Development

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  • Ralph Ossa

Abstract

This paper presents a model of social learning about the suitability of local conditions for new business ventures and explores its implications for the microeconomic patterns of economic development. I show that: i) firms tend to 'rush' into business ventures with which other firms have had surprising success thus causing development to be 'lumpy'; ii) sufficient business confidence is crucial for fostering economic growth; iii) development may involve wave-like patterns of growth where successive business ventures are first pursued and then given up; iv) there is, nevertheless, no guarantee that firms pursue the best venture even in the long-run.

Suggested Citation

  • Ralph Ossa, 2006. "A Gold Rush Theory of Economic Development," CEP Discussion Papers dp0719, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0719
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rhee, Yung Whee, 1990. "The catalyst model of development: Lessons from Bangladesh's success with garment exports," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 333-346, February.
    2. Chamley,Christophe P., 2004. "Rational Herds," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521530927.
    3. Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1998. "Miracle on Sixth Avenue: Information Externalities and Search," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 60-74, January.
    4. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2003. "Economic development as self-discovery," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 603-633, December.
    5. Ricardo Hausmann & Jason Hwang & Dani Rodrik, 2007. "What you export matters," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 1-25, March.
    6. Chamley,Christophe P., 2004. "Rational Herds," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521824019.
    7. Hoff, Karla, 1997. "Bayesian learning in an infant industry model," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3-4), pages 409-436, November.
    8. Jose Luis Evia & Osvaldo Nina & Miguel Urquiola & Lykke Andersen & Eduardo Antelo, 1999. "Geography and Development in Bolivia: Migration, Urban and Industrial Concentration, Welfare, and Convergence: 1950-1992," Research Department Publications 3085, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    9. Evenson, Robert E. & Westphal, Larry E., 1995. "Technological change and technology strategy," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 2209-2299, Elsevier.
    10. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 1993. "Sectoral Shocks, Learning, and Aggregate Fluctuations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(4), pages 777-794.
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    Cited by:

    1. Behrens, Kristian & Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric, 2015. "Agglomeration Theory with Heterogeneous Agents," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 171-245, Elsevier.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic Development; Social Learning; Lumpiness;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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