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A Theory of Falling Growth and Rising Rents

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  • Philippe Aghion
  • Antonin Bergeaud
  • Timo Boppart
  • Peter J. Klenow

Abstract

Growth has fallen in the U.S. amid a rise in firm concentration. Market share has shifted to low labor share firms, while within-firm labor shares have actually risen. We propose a theory linking these trends in which the driving force is falling overhead costs of spanning multiple products or a rising efficiency advantage of large firms. In response, the most efficient firms (with higher markups) spread into new product lines, thereby increasing concentration and generating a temporary burst of growth. Eventually, due to greater competition from efficient firms, within-firm markups and incentives to innovate fall. Thus our simple model can generate qualitative patterns in line with the observed trends.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Aghion & Antonin Bergeaud & Timo Boppart & Peter J. Klenow, 2022. "A Theory of Falling Growth and Rising Rents," Working Paper Series 2019-11, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2019-11
    DOI: 10.24148/wp2019-11
    Note: The first version of this Working Paper was published March 27, 2019
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    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada

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