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Public policies and the art of catching up: matching the historical evidence with a multi-country agent-based model

Author

Listed:
  • Giovanni Dosi

    (Institute of Economics and EMbeDS, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa (Italy))

  • Andrea Roventini

    (OFCE Sciences Po, Sophia-Antipolis (France), Institute of Economics and EMbeDS, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa (Italy))

  • Emanuele Russo

    (Institute of Economics and EMbeDS, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa (Italy))

Abstract

In this paper, we study the effects of industrial policies on international convergence using a multi-country agent-based model which builds upon Dosi et al. (2019b). The model features a group of microfounded economies, with evolving industries, populated by heterogeneous firms that compete in international markets. In each country, technological change is driven by firms’ activities of search and innovation, while aggregate demand formation and distribution follows Keynesian dynamics. Interactions among countries take place via trade flows and international technological imitation. We employ the model to assess the different strategies that laggard countries can adopt to catch up with leaders: market-friendly policies; industrial policies targeting the development of firms’ capabilities and R&D investments, as well as trade restrictions for infant industry protection; protectionist policies focusing on tariffs only. We find that markets cannot do the magic: in absence of government interventions, laggards will continue to fall behind. On the contrary, industrial policies can successfully drive international convergence among leaders and laggards, while protectionism alone is not necessary to support catching up and countries get stuck in a sort of middle-income trap. Finally, in a global trade war, where developed economies impose retaliatory tariffs, both laggards and leaders are worse off and world productivity growth slows down.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Dosi & Andrea Roventini & Emanuele Russo, 2020. "Public policies and the art of catching up: matching the historical evidence with a multi-country agent-based model," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2020-18, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  • Handle: RePEc:fce:doctra:2018
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Endogenous growth; catching up; technology-gaps; industrial policies; agent-based models.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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