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Internal Increasing Returns to Scale and Economic Growth

  • John A. List
  • Haiwen Zhou

This study develops a model of endogenous growth based on increasing returns due to firms' technology choices. Particular attention is paid to the implications of these choices, combined with the substitution of capital for labor, on economic growth in a general equilibrium model in which the R&D sector produces machines to be used for the sector producing final goods. We show that incorporating oligopolistic competition in the sector producing finals goods into a general equilibrium model with endogenous technology choice is tractable, and we explore the equilibrium path analytically. The model illustrates a novel manner in which sustained per capita growth of consumption can be achieved -- through continuous adoption of new technologies featuring the substitution between capital and labor. Further insights of the model are that during the growth process, the size of firms producing final goods increases over time, the real interest rate is constant, and the real wage rate increases over time.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12999.

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Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12999
Note: EFG
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  1. Jovanovic, B. & Nyarko, Y., 1996. "Learning by Doing and the Choice of Technology," Working Papers 96-25, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  2. Jordi Galí & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 1993. "Endogenous growth and poverty traps in a Cournotian model," Economics Working Papers 65, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  3. Greenwood, Jeremy & Seshadri, Ananth, 2005. "Technological Progress and Economic Transformation," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 19, pages 1225-1273 Elsevier.
  4. Boltho, Andrea & Toniolo, Gianni, 1999. "The Assessment: The Twentieth Century--Achievements, Failures, Lessons," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(4), pages 1-17, Winter.
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  6. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  7. Jones, Charles I., 2005. "Growth and Ideas," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 16, pages 1063-1111 Elsevier.
  8. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  9. King, R.G. & Rebelo, S.T., 1989. "Transitional Dynamics And Economic Growth In The Neoclassical Model," RCER Working Papers 206, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  10. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, . "Equipment Investment and Economic Growth," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _122, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
  11. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 2005. "Growth with Quality-Improving Innovations: An Integrated Framework," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 67-110 Elsevier.
  12. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Endogenous Technological Change," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2135, David K. Levine.
  13. Bencivenga Valerie R. & Smith Bruce D. & Starr Ross M., 1995. "Transactions Costs, Technological Choice, and Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 153-177, October.
  14. Young, Allyn A., 1928. "Increasing Returns and Economic Progress," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 38, pages 527-542.
  15. Parente Stephen L., 1994. "Technology Adoption, Learning-by-Doing, and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 346-369, August.
  16. De Long, J. Bradford & Summers, Lawrence H., 1993. "How strongly do developing economies benefit from equipment investment?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 395-415, December.
  17. Jones, Charles I., 1994. "Economic growth and the relative price of capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 359-382, December.
  18. Young, Alwyn, 1995. "The Tyranny of Numbers: Confronting the Statistical Realities of the East Asian Growth Experience," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 641-80, August.
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