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Industrialization and the Big Push


  • Kevin M. Murphy
  • Andrei Shleifer
  • Robert W. Vishny


This paper explores Rosenstein-Rodman's (1943) idea that simultaneous industrialization of many sectors of the economy can be profitable for all of them, even when no sector can break even industrializing alone. We analyze this ides in the context of an imperfectly competitive economy with aggregate demand spillovers, and interpret the big push into industrialization as a move from a bad to a good equilibrium. We show that for two equilibria to exist, it must be the case that an industrializing firm raises the demand for products of other sectors through channels other than the contribution of its own profits to demand. For example, a firm paying high factory wages raises demand in other manufacturing sectors even if it loses money. In a similar vein, a firm investing today in order to produce at low cost tomorrow shifts income and hence demand for other goods into the future and so makes it more attractive for other firms also to invest today. Finally, an investing firm can benefit firms in other sectors if it uses a railroad or other shared infrastructure, and hence helps to defray the fixed cost of building the railroad. All these transmission mechanisms that help generate the big push seem to be of some relevance for less developed countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1988. "Industrialization and the Big Push," NBER Working Papers 2708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2708
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1988. "The Efficiency of Investment in the Presence of Aggregate Demand Spillovers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1221-1231, December.
    3. Weitzman, Martin L, 1982. "Increasing Returns and the Foundations of Unemployment Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 787-804, December.
    4. Oliver Hart, 1982. "A Model of Imperfect Competition with Keynesian Features," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(1), pages 109-138.
    5. Shleifer, Andrei, 1986. "Implementation Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(6), pages 1163-1190, December.
    6. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1989. "Income Distribution, Market Size, and Industrialization," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 537-564.
    7. 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.
    8. repec:mes:challe:v:12:y:1964:i:6:p:35-38 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. 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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