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Building blocks for barriers to riches

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  • Narayana R. Kocherlakota

Abstract

Total factor productivity (TFP) differs greatly across countries. In this paper, I provide a novel rationalization for these differences. I consider two environments, one in which enforcement is full and the other in which enforcement is limited. In both settings, manufactured goods can be produced using a high-TFP technology or a low-TFP technology; there is a fixed cost associated with adoption of the former. I suppose that the fixed cost is sufficiently small that adoption takes place in a symmetric Pareto optimum in the limited-enforcement setting. Under this condition, I prove two results. First, adoption takes place in all Pareto optima in the full-enforcement setting. Second, adoption may not take place in a Pareto optimum in the limited-enforcement setting, if the division of social surplus is sufficiently unequal. I conclude that limited enforcement and high inequality interact to create particularly strong barriers to riches (in the language of Parente and Prescott (1999, 2000).

Suggested Citation

  • Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 2001. "Building blocks for barriers to riches," Staff Report 288, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:288
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas J. Holmes & James A. Schmitz, 1995. "Resistance to new technology and trade between areas," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 2-17.
    2. Marcet, Albert & Marimon, Ramon, 1992. "Communication, commitment, and growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 219-249, December.
    3. Myerson, Roger B, 1979. "Incentive Compatibility and the Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 61-73, January.
    4. George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, 1990. "Asymmetric Information Bargaining Problems with Many Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 351-367.
    5. Edward C. Prescott & Stephen L. Parente, 1999. "Monopoly Rights: A Barrier to Riches," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1216-1233, December.
    6. Clark, Gregory, 1987. "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed? Lessons from the Cotton Mills," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 141-173, March.
    7. Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Barriers to Riches," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661306, January.
    8. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "Implications of Efficient Risk Sharing without Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(4), pages 595-609.
    9. Thomas J. Holmes & James A. Schmitz, 1994. "Resistance to technology and trade between areas," Staff Report 184, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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    Cited by:

    1. Benjamin Bental & Dominique Demougin, 2006. "Incentive Contracts And Total Factor Productivity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(3), pages 1033-1055, August.
    2. Bridgman, Benjamin, 2015. "Competition, work rules and productivity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 136-149.
    3. Herrendorf, Berthold & Teixeira, Arilton, 2003. "Monopoly Rights can Reduce Income Big Time," CEPR Discussion Papers 3854, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Berthold Herrendorf & Arilton Teixeira, 2011. "Barriers To Entry And Development," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(2), pages 573-602, May.

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    Keywords

    Productivity ; Technology - Economic aspects;

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