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Income Distribution, Market Size, and Industrialization

  • Kevin M. Murphy
  • Andrei Shleifer
  • Robert Vishny

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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2709.

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Date of creation: Sep 1988
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Publication status: published as "Income Distribution, Market Size and Industrialization" Quarterly Journal of Economics , August 1989.
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 1221-31, December.
  2. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  3. 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 1003-26, October.
  4. 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.
  5. Hart, Oliver, 1982. "A Model of Imperfect Competition with Keynesian Features," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(1), pages 109-38, February.
  6. Judd, Kenneth L, 1985. "On the Performance of Patents," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 567-85, May.
  7. Weitzman, Martin L, 1982. "Increasing Returns and the Foundations of Unemployment Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 787-804, December.
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