IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Can't We All Be More Like Scandinavians? Asymmetric Growth and Institutions in an Interdependent World

  • Daron Acemoglu
  • James A. Robinson
  • Thierry Verdier

Because of their more limited inequality and more comprehensive social welfare systems, many perceive average welfare to be higher in Scandinavian societies than in the United States. Why then does the United States not adopt Scandinavian-style institutions? More generally, in an interdependent world, would we expect all countries to adopt the same institutions? To provide theoretical answers to this question, we develop a simple model of economic growth in a world in which all countries benefit and potentially contribute to advances in the world technology frontier. A greater gap of incomes between successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs (thus greater inequality) increases entrepreneurial effort and hence a country's contribution to the world technology frontier. We show that, under plausible assumptions, the world equilibrium is asymmetric: some countries will opt for a type of "cutthroat capitalism" that generates greater inequality and more innovation and will become the technology leaders, while others will free- ride on the cutthroat incentives of the leaders and choose a more "cuddly" form of capitalism. Paradoxically, those with cuddly reward structures, though poorer, may have higher welfare than cutthroat capitalists; but in the world equilibrium, it is not a best response for the cutthroat capitalists to switch to a more cuddly form of capitalism. We also show that domestic constraints from social democratic parties or unions may be beneficial for a country because they prevent cutthroat capitalism domestically, instead inducing other countries to play this role.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18441.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18441.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18441
Note: IFM ITI POL
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Krugman, Paul & Venables, Anthony J., 1996. "Integration, specialization, and adjustment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 959-967, April.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Jaume Ventura, 2001. "The World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alberto F. Alesina & Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2006. "Work and Leisure in the U.S. and Europe: Why So Different?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2005, Volume 20, pages 1-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Laura Bottazzi & Giovanni Peri, . "Innovation and Spillovers in Regions: Evidence from European Patent Data," Working Papers 215, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  5. Acemoglu, D. & Pischki, J.S., 1996. "Why Do Firms Train? Theory and Evidence," Working papers 96-7, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 699-746.
  7. William R. Kerr, 2008. "Ethnic Scientific Communities and International Technology Diffusion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 518-537, August.
  8. André Sapir, 2006. "Globalization and the Reform of European Social Models," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 369-390, 06.
  9. Akkermans, Dirk & Castaldi, Carolina & Los, Bart, 2009. "Do 'liberal market economies' really innovate more radically than 'coordinated market economies'?: Hall and Soskice reconsidered," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 181-191, February.
  10. Roland Benabou & Efe A. Ok, 1998. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The POUM Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 6795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2002. "Explaining Diversity: Symmetry-Breaking in Complementarity Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 241-246, May.
  12. Hall, B. & Jaffe, A. & Trajtenberg, M., 2001. "The NBER Patent Citations Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools," Papers 2001-29, Tel Aviv.
  13. Saint-Paul, G. & Verdier, T., 1991. "Education, Democracy and growth," DELTA Working Papers 91-27, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  14. Taylor, Mark Zachary, 2004. "Empirical Evidence Against Varieties of Capitalism's Theory of Technological Innovation," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 601-631, July.
  15. Davis, Donald R, 1998. "Does European Unemployment Prop Up American Wages? National Labor Markets and Global Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 478-94, June.
  16. Thomas Piketty, 1994. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," Working papers 94-15, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  17. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Roberto Perotti & Massimo Rostagno, 2002. "Electoral Systems and Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(2), pages 609-657.
  18. Peter Howitt, 2000. "Endogenous Growth and Cross-Country Income Differences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 829-846, September.
  19. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-69, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18441. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.