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Externalities and Growth

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  • Peter J. Klenow
  • Andres Rodriguez-Clare

Abstract

Externalities play a central role in most theories of economic growth. We argue that international externalities, in particular, are essential for explaining a number of empirical regularities about growth and development. Foremost among these is that many countries appear to share a common long run growth rate despite persistently different rates of investment in physical capital, human capital, and research. With this motivation, we construct a hybrid of some prominent growth models that have international knowledge externalities. When calibrated, the hybrid model does a surprisingly good job of generating realistic dispersion of income levels with modest barriers to technology adoption. Human capital and physical capital contribute to income differences both directly (as usual), and indirectly by boosting resources devoted to technology adoption. The model implies that most of income above subsistence is made possible by international diffusion of knowledge.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter J. Klenow & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 2004. "Externalities and Growth," NBER Working Papers 11009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11009 Note: EFG
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    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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