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

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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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File URL: https://www.ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/mtec/cer-eth/cer-eth-dam/documents/working-papers/wp_08_99.pdf
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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
Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:08-99
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  1. 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.
  2. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  3. Benhabib Jess & Farmer Roger E. A., 1994. "Indeterminacy and Increasing Returns," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 19-41, June.
  4. Benhabib, Jess & Farmer, Roger E. A., 1996. "Indeterminacy and sector-specific externalities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 421-443, June.
  5. Russell, Thomas & Zecevic, Aleksandar, 2000. "Indeterminate growth paths and stability," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 39-62, January.
  6. Guo, Jang-Ting & Lansing, Kevin J., 1998. "Indeterminacy and Stabilization Policy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 481-490, October.
  7. Christiano, Lawrence J. & G. Harrison, Sharon, 1999. "Chaos, sunspots and automatic stabilizers," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 3-31, August.
  8. Benigno, Pierpaolo & Woodford, Michael, 2006. "Optimal taxation in an RBC model: A linear-quadratic approach," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(9-10), pages 1445-1489.
  9. 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.
  10. Russell, Thomas & Zecevic, Aleksandar, 1998. "Lyapunov stability, regions of attraction, and indeterminate growth paths," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 319-324, March.
  11. 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.
  12. Benigno, Pierpaolo & Woodford, Michael, 2012. "Linear-quadratic approximation of optimal policy problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(1), pages 1-42.
  13. Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie & Uribe, Martin, 2004. "Solving dynamic general equilibrium models using a second-order approximation to the policy function," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 755-775, January.
  14. 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 402-417, June.
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