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Increasing Returns to Scale and Welfare: Ranking the Multiple Deterministic Equilibria

We consider a real business cycle model with a productive externality and an aggregate non- convex technology set µa la Benhabib and Farmer embodying capacity utilization, which exhibits indeterminacy of the steady state and multiplicity of deterministic equilibria under plausible values of the increasing returns to scale. The aim of the paper is to rank these different equilibria according to the initial value of consumption using both a linear-quadratic approximation, extensively explained by Benigno and Woodford [2006a, 2006b], and simulation methods. We study the implications of such a ranking in terms of smoothness of the welfare-maximizing trajectory and show that the welfare- maximizing consumption and labor paths are all the smoother since the level of increasing returns is low. At last, we show that this solution provides a good benchmark for judging the desirability of the stabilization policy proposed by Guo and Lansing [1997].

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Paper provided by CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich in its series CER-ETH Economics working paper series with number 08/99.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:08-99
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  1. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2001. "Solving Dynamic General Equilibrium Models Using a Second-Order Approximation to the Policy Function," Departmental Working Papers 200106, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  2. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2006. "Linear-Quadratic Approximation of Optimal Policy Problems," NBER Working Papers 12672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Russell, Thomas & Zecevic, Aleksandar, 1998. "Lyapunov stability, regions of attraction, and indeterminate growth paths," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 319-324, March.
  4. Nadiri, M Ishaq & Prucha, Ingmar R, 1996. "Estimation of the Depreciation Rate of Physical and R&D Capital in the U.S. Total Manufacturing Sector," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(1), pages 43-56, January.
  5. Jang-Ting Guo & Sharon G. Harrison, 2001. "Tax Policy and Stability in a Model with Sector-Specific Externalities," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(1), pages 75-89, January.
  6. Benhabib, J. & Farmer, R.E.A, 1991. "Indeterminacy and Increasing Returns," Papers 165, Cambridge - Risk, Information & Quantity Signals.
  7. Lawrence J. Christiano & Sharon G. Harrison, 1996. "Chaos, sunspots, and automatic stabilizers," Staff Report 214, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Jang-Ting Guo & Kevin J. Lansing, 1997. "Indeterminacy and stabilization policy," Working Paper 9708, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  9. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
  10. Magill, Michael J. P., 1977. "A local analysis of N-sector capital accumulation under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 211-219, June.
  11. Benhabib, Jess & Farmer, Roger E.A., 1996. "Indeterminacy and Sector-Specific Externalities," Working Papers 96-12, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  12. Russell, Thomas & Zecevic, Aleksandar, 2000. "Indeterminate growth paths and stability," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 39-62, January.
  13. Pierpaolo Benigno & Michael Woodford, 2005. "Optimal Taxation in an RBC Model: A Linear-Quadratic Approach," NBER Working Papers 11029, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Gary Hansen, 2010. "Indivisible Labor and the Business Cycle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 233, David K. Levine.
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