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Coordination and Development


  • José Pedro Pontes
  • Joana Pais


This paper addresses the issue of industrial development using a coordination game. Complementarities between transport infrastructure provision by the Government and consumer goods manufacturing firms, and among consumer goods firms themselves dictate the outcome: either the transport infrastructure (i.e., a highway) is not built and firms keep doing “home” production, thus supplying mainly nearby consumers and dispensing with a highway; or they switch to “factory” production, a more spatially centralized regime, where output must be sold over long distances, thus implying the construction of a highway. In relation to the existent literature, this paper presents two main innovations. Firstly, the two sources of linkage, namely cost linkage, through the provision of an indivisible input (the highway), and demand linkage, through the wage rise brought about by industrialization, are not treated separately, but they are integrated in the same model. Consequently, the game has now two levels of equilibrium selection. Secondly, the paper does not limit itself to checking that there can arise multiple Nash equilibria under certain circumstances, but it discusses methods for the selection of a unique outcome. Consequently, in addition to the classical Nash equilibria mentioned above, there is a third possible solution where the Government builds the highway but the consumer goods firms refrain from using it and stick to “home” production. Hence, the transport infrastructure becomes a “white elephant”.

Suggested Citation

  • José Pedro Pontes & Joana Pais, 2013. "Coordination and Development," Working Papers Department of Economics 2013/29, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
  • Handle: RePEc:ise:isegwp:wp292013

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    Big Push; Coordination Games; Economic Development; Equilibrium selection; Industrialization.;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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