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Specialization, Knowledge Dilution, and Scale Effects in an IO-Based Growth Model

  • Peretto, Pietro
  • Smulders, Sjak

We present a model where accumulation on non-rival knowledge drives growth but where the scale effect, which may be positive or negative, vanishes asymptotically. This result stems from the interaction between technological differentiation and market structure dynamics. Firms are linked to each other in networks of spillovers determined by the technological proximity of their activities. These spillovers-networks span only a fraction of the total economy and the average technological distance between firms increases with the size of the economy. When the economy expands, less related activities become profitable and specialization increases. As a result, the networks expand at a slower pace than the overall economy. In the limit, the networks cease to grow with the size of the economy. A larger economy, therefore, accumulates a larger tock of total knowledge but not necessarily a larger effective stock of knowledge that is useful to the individual firm. The reason is that the latter expands with the size of the network to which the firm belongs. The scale effect vanishes asymptotically because the stock of effective knowledge that each firm exploits is unrelated to the size of the economy when this is very large.

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Paper provided by Duke University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 98-07.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:duk:dukeec:98-07
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  1. Alwyn Young, 1995. "Growth Without Scale Effects," NBER Working Papers 5211, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Griliches, Zvi, 1990. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
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  4. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Peretto, Pietro F., 1996. "Firm Size, Rivalry and the Extent of the Market in Endogenous Technological Change," Working Papers 96-07, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  6. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  7. Cohen, Wesley M. & Levin, Richard C., 1989. "Empirical studies of innovation and market structure," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 18, pages 1059-1107 Elsevier.
  8. Yang, Xiaokai & Borland, Jeff, 1991. "A Microeconomic Mechanism for Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 460-82, June.
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  10. James D. Adams & Adam B. Jaffe, 1996. "Bounding the Effects of R&D: An Investigation Using Matched Establishment-Firm Data," NBER Working Papers 5544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Malerba, Franco & Orsenigo, Luigi, 1995. "Schumpeterian Patterns of Innovation," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 47-65, February.
  12. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-96, September.
  13. Thompson, Peter & Waldo, Doug, 1994. "Growth and trustified capitalism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 445-462, December.
  14. Rustichini, Aldo & Schmilz, James Jr., 1991. "Research and imitation in long-run growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 271-292, April.
  15. Smulders, J.A. & van de Klundert, T.C.M.J., 1995. "Imperfect competition, concentration and growth with firm-specific R&D," Other publications TiSEM 3287368d-bf5d-421a-91c1-e, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
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