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Idea Flows, Economic Growth, and Trade

Listed author(s):
  • Fernando E. Alvarez
  • Francisco J. Buera
  • Robert E. Lucas, Jr.

We provide a theoretical description of a process that is capable of generating growth and income convergence among economies, and where freer trade has persistent, positive effects on productivity, beyond the standard efficiency gains due to reallocation effects. We add to a standard Ricardian model a theory of endogenous growth where the engine of growth is the flow of ideas. Ideas are assumed to diffuse by random meetings where people get new ideas by learning from the people they do business with or compete with. Trade then has a selection effect of putting domestic producers in contact with the most efficient foreign and domestic producers. We analyze the way that trade in goods, and impediments to it, affect this diffusion. We find that exclusion of a country from trade reduces productivity growth, with large long-term effects. Smaller trade costs have moderate effects on productivity.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19667.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19667.

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Date of creation: Nov 2013
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19667
Note: EFG ITI
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  1. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2003. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1268-1290, September.
  2. Jovanovic, B. & Macdonald, G.M., 1988. "Competitive Diffusion," RCER Working Papers 160, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
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  5. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Technology, Geography, and Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1741-1779, September.
  6. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2007. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," Discussion Papers 07-006, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
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  8. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Dave Donaldson & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2015. "The Elusive Pro-Competitive Effects of Trade," NBER Working Papers 21370, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. David Weinstein & Christian Broda, 2004. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety," 2004 Meeting Papers 530, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Parente, Stephen L & Prescott, Edward C, 1994. "Barriers to Technology Adoption and Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 298-321, April.
  11. Fernando Alvarez & Robert E. Lucas, 2005. "General Equilibrium Analysis of the Eaton-Kortum Model of International Trade," NBER Working Papers 11764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Igal Hendel & Aviv Nevo, 2005. "Measuring the Implications of Sales and Consumer Inventory Behavior," NBER Working Papers 11307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2005. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," NBER Working Papers 11555, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1990. "Trade, Knowledge Spillovers, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 3485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. J. P. Quirk, 1968. "Comparative Statics under Walras' Law: the Case of Strong Dependence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(1), pages 11-21.
  16. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, December.
  17. Jesse Perla & Christopher Tonetti, 2012. "Equilibrium Imitation and Growth," Working Papers 12-03, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  18. Samuel S. Kortum, 1997. "Research, Patenting, and Technological Change," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1389-1420, November.
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