Is History a Blessing or a Curse? International Borrowing without Commitment, Leapfrogging and Growth Reversals
We develop a simple open-economy AK model with collateral constraints that accounts for growth-reversal episodes, during which countries face abrupt changes in their growth rate that lead to either growth miracles or growth disasters. Absent commitment to investment by the borrowing country, imperfect contract enforcement leads to an informational lag such that the debt contracted upon today depends upon the past stock of capital. The no-commitment delay originates a history effect by which the richer a country has been in the past, the more it can borrow today. For (arbitrarily) small deviations from perfect contract enforcement, the history effect offsets the growth benefits from international borrowing and dampens growth, and it leads to leapfrogging in long-run levels. When large enough, the history effect originates growth reversals and we connect the latter to leapfrogging. Finally, we argue that the model accords with the reported evidence on growth disasters and growth accelerations. We also provide examples showing that leapfrogging and growth reversals may coexist, so that currently poor but fast-growing countries experiencing sharp growth reversals may end up, in the long-run, significantly richer than currently rich but declining countries.
|Date of creation:||2010|
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- Romain Rancière & Aaron Tornell & Frank Westermann, 2008.
"Systemic Crises and Growth,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 359-406.
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