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Income Distribution, Market Size, and Industrialization

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  • Kevin M. Murphy
  • Andrei Shleifer
  • Robert Vishny

Abstract

When world trade is not free and costless, a less developed country can profitably industrialize only if its domestic markets are large enough. In such a country, for increasing returns technologies to break even, sales must be high enough to cover the set-up costs, This paper studies some determinants of the size of the domestic market, and focuses on two conditions conducive to industrialization. First, agriculture or exports must provide the source of autonomous demand for manufactures. Such expansion of autonomous demand usually results from increases in farm productivity or from opening of new export markets. Second, income generated in agriculture or exports must be broadly enough distributed that it materializes as demand for mass-produced domestic goods, and not just for luxuries. We resort to these two determinants of the size of domestic markets to interpret several historical development episodes.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1988. "Income Distribution, Market Size, and Industrialization," NBER Working Papers 2709, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2709 Note: EFG
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    1. 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.
    2. Weitzman, Martin L, 1982. "Increasing Returns and the Foundations of Unemployment Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 787-804, December.
    3. 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.
    4. Douglass C. North, 1959. "Agriculture in Regional Economic Growth," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 41(5), pages 943-951.
    5. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1989. "Industrialization and the Big Push," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1003-1026, October.
    6. Russell Cooper & John Andrew, 1985. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 745R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jul 1985.
    7. Judd, Kenneth L, 1985. "On the Performance of Patents," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 567-585, May.
    8. 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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