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A Theory of Falling Growth and Rising Rents

Author

Listed:
  • Philippe Aghion
  • Antonin Bergeaud
  • Timo Boppart
  • Peter J. Klenow
  • Huiyu Li

Abstract

Growth has fallen in the U.S., while firm concentration and profits have risen. Meanwhile, labor’s share of national income is down, mostly due to the rising market share of low labor share firms. We propose a theory for these trends in which the driving force is falling firm-level costs of spanning multiple markets, perhaps due to accelerating IT advances. In response, the most efficient firms (with higher markups) spread into new markets, thereby generating a temporary burst of growth. Because their efficiency is difficult to imitate, less efficient firms find markets more difficult to enter profitably and therefore innovate less. Eventually, due to greater competition from efficient firms, within-firm markups actually fall. Despite the increase in the aggregate markup and rents, firm incentives to innovate decline—lowering the long run growth rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Aghion & Antonin Bergeaud & Timo Boppart & Peter J. Klenow & Huiyu Li, 2019. "A Theory of Falling Growth and Rising Rents," NBER Working Papers 26448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26448
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada

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