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When Economic Growth is Less than Exponential

  • Christian Groth

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Karl-Josef Koch

    (University of Siegen)

  • Thomas M. Steger

    (University of Leipzig and CESifo Munich)

This paper argues that growth theory needs a more general notion of “regularity” than that of exponential growth. We suggest that paths along which the rate of decline of the growth rate is proportional to the growth rate itself deserve attention. This opens up for considering a richer set of parameter combinations than in standard growth models. And it avoids the usual oversimplistic dichotomy of either exponential growth or stagnation. Allowing zero population growth in three different growth models (the Jones R&D-based model, a learning-by-doing model, and an embodied technical change model) serve as illustrations that a continuum of “regular” growth processes fill the whole range between exponential growth and complete stagnation.

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Paper provided by Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series EPRU Working Paper Series with number 2009-03.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation:
Date of revision: May 2009
Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:09-03
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  1. Jakub Growiec, 2009. "Knife-Edge Conditions in the Modeling of Long-Run Growth Regularities," National Bank of Poland Working Papers 68, National Bank of Poland, Economic Institute.
  2. John C. V. Pezzey, 2002. "Exact Measures of Income in a Hyperbolic Economy," Economics and Environment Network Working Papers 0203, Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network.
  3. R. M. Solow, 1974. "Intergenerational Equity and Exhaustible Resources," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 29-45.
  4. Asheim, Geir B. & Buchholz, Wolfgang & Hartwick, John M. & Mitra, Tapan & Withagen, Cees, 2005. "Constant savings rates and quasi-arithmetic population growth under exhaustible resource constraints," Memorandum 23/2005, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  5. Hartwick, John M, 1977. "Intergenerational Equity and the Investing of Rents from Exhaustible Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 972-74, December.
  6. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S71-102, October.
  7. BOUCEKKINE, Raouf & DEL RIO, Fernando & LICANDRO, Omar, . "Embodied technological change, learning-by-doint and the productivity slowdown," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1629, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Attanasio, Orazio P & Weber, Guglielmo, 1995. "Is Consumption Growth Consistent with Intertemporal Optimization? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1121-57, December.
  9. Michael Kremer, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716.
  10. Aghion, P. & Howitt, P., 1989. "A Model Of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Working papers 527, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Maria J. Alvarez-Pelaez & Christian Groth, 2002. "Too little or too much R&D?," Discussion Papers 02-01, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  12. Lutz G. Arnold, 2006. "The Dynamics of the Jones R&D Growth Model," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(1), pages 143-152, January.
  13. Jakub Growiec, 2005. "Beyond the Linearity Critique: The Knife-Edge Assumption of Steady State Growth," GE, Growth, Math methods 0505003, EconWPA, revised 23 Jun 2005.
  14. Jones, Charles I, 1995. "R&D-Based Models of Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 759-84, August.
  15. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Stanley Fischer, 1989. "Lectures on Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262022834, March.
  16. Charles I. Jones, 2004. "Growth and Ideas," NBER Working Papers 10767, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Solow, Robert M., 2000. "Growth Theory: An Exposition," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780195109030, December.
  18. Hendrik Hakenes & Andreas Irmen, 2005. "On the Long-Run Evolution of Technological Knowledge," CESifo Working Paper Series 1483, CESifo Group Munich.
  19. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z. & Krusell, P., 1995. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9510, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  20. Robert M. Solow, 1994. "Perspectives on Growth Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 45-54, Winter.
  21. Alwyn Young, 1998. "Growth without Scale Effects," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(1), pages 41-63, February.
  22. Mitra, Tapan, 1983. "Limits on Population Growth under Exhaustible Resource Constraints," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(1), pages 155-68, February.
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