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Catching Up and Falling Behind

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  • Nancy L. Stokey

Abstract

This paper studies the interaction between technology, a publicly available input that flows in from abroad, and human capital, a private input that is accumulated domestically, as the twin engines of growth in a developing economy. The model displays two types of long run behavior, depending on policies and initial conditions. One is sustained growth, where the economy keeps pace with the technology frontier. The other is stagnation, where the economy converges to a minimal technology level that is independent of the world frontier. In a calibrated version of the model, transition paths after a policy change can display rapid growth, as in modern growth 'miracles.' In these economies policies that promote technology inflows are much more effective than subsidies to human capital accumulation in accelerating growth. A policy reversal produces a 'lost decade,' a period of slow growth that permanently reduces the level of income and consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Nancy L. Stokey, 2012. "Catching Up and Falling Behind," NBER Working Papers 18654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18654
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18654.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1403-1448.
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    8. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
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    10. Natalia Ramondo, 2009. "Foreign Plants and Industry Productivity: Evidence from Chile," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 111(4), pages 789-809, December.
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    13. Baumol, William J, 1986. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: What the Long-run Data Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1072-1085, December.
    14. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. About growth miracles and lost decades
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-01-25 21:58:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Wang, Yong, 2015. "A model of sequential reforms and economic convergence: The case of China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 1-26.
    2. Fabian Goessling, 2018. "Human Capital, Growth, and Asset Prices," CQE Working Papers 6918, Center for Quantitative Economics (CQE), University of Muenster.
    3. Felicitas Nowak-Lehmann D. & Elena Gross, 2015. "What effect does development aid have on productivity in recipient countries? An analysis using quantiles and thresholds," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 232, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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