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Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth

  • Acemoglu, Daron
  • Aghion, Philippe
  • Zilibotti, Fabrizio

We analyse an economy where managers engage both in the adoption of technologies from the world frontier and in innovation activities. The selection of high-skill managers is more important for innovation activities. As the economy approaches the technology frontier, selection becomes more important. As a result, countries at early stages of development pursue an investment-based strategy, with long-term relationships, high average size and age of firms, large average investments, but little selection. Closer to the world technology frontier, there is a switch to an innovation-based strategy with short-term relationships, younger firms, less investment and better selection of managers. We show that relatively backward economies may switch out of the investment-based strategy too soon, so certain economic institutions and policies, such as limits on product market competition or investment subsidies, which encourage the investment-based strategy may be beneficial. Societies that cannot switch out of the investment-based strategy, however, fail to converge to the world technology frontier. Non-convergence traps are more likely when policies and institutions are endogenized, enabling beneficiaries of existing policies to bribe politicians to maintain these policies.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3467.

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Date of creation: Jul 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3467
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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 1994. "Was Prometheus unbound by chance? Risk, diversification and growth," Economics Working Papers 98, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  3. Hassler, John & Rodríguez Mora, José Vicente, 1998. "IQ, Social Mobility and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Rachel Griffith & Stephen Redding & John Van Reenen, 2000. "Mapping the Two Faces of R&D: Productivity Growth in a Panel of OECD Industries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0458, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Jian Tong & Xu Chenggang, 2004. "Financial institutions and the wealth of nations: tales of development," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3745, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Brezis, Elise S & Krugman, Paul R & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1993. "Leapfrogging in International Competition: A Theory of Cycles in National Technological Leadership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1211-19, December.
  7. Tong, Jian & Xu, Cheng-Gang, 2004. "Financial Institutions and the Wealth of Nations: Tales of Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 4348, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Zeira, Joseph, 1995. "Workers, Machines and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1139, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:4:p:1091-1117 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Howitt, Peter & Mayer-Foulkes, David, 2005. "R&D, Implementation, and Stagnation: A Schumpeterian Theory of Convergence Clubs," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(1), pages 147-77, February.
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