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Well-Intended Policies


  • Yongseok Shin

    (Washington University)

  • Benjamin Moll

    (Princeton University)

  • Francisco J. Buera



In our model, short-sighted policy-makers choose to subsidize productive entrepreneurs to relax their limited commitments. In the short-run, this policy reallocates capital from unproductive towards productive entrepreneurs, and boosts per-capita income, TFP and capital accumulation. Over time, as the productivities of entrepreneurs revert to the mean, subsidized individuals are not necessarily the most productive entrepreneurs, while newly entering, productive entrepreneurs are taxed. Therefore, in the long-run the initial policy results in idiosyncratic taxes and subsidies that contribute to misallocating capital from productive entrepreneurs towards unproductive ones who stay in business only because they are subsidized. Because of mean reversion, in the stationary equilibrium, subsidies are uncorrelated with the productivities of the overall population. However, subsidies are correlated with the productivity of individuals that choose to be entrepreneurs. These endogenous idiosyncratic distortions lead to lower per-capita income, TFP and capital accumulation in the long-run.

Suggested Citation

  • Yongseok Shin & Benjamin Moll & Francisco J. Buera, 2011. "Well-Intended Policies," 2011 Meeting Papers 1244, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:1244

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Eduardo Fernández-Arias & Charles Sabel & Ernesto H. Stein & Alberto Trejos, 2016. "Two to Tango: Public-Private Collaboration for Productive Development Policies," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 94716, February.
    2. Selahattin Imrohoroglu, 2017. "Replacing Income Taxation with Consumption Taxation in Japan," CIGS Working Paper Series 17-008E, The Canon Institute for Global Studies.
    3. António Antunes & Tiago Cavalcanti & Anne Villamil, 2015. "The effects of credit subsidies on development," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 58(1), pages 1-30, January.
    4. Li, Hao-Chung & Lee, Wen-Chieh & Ko, Bo-Ting, 2017. "What determines misallocation in innovation? A study of regional innovation in China," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 221-237.
    5. Petre Caraiani, 2016. "A quantitative explanation of the low productivity in South-Eastern European economies: the role of misallocations," wiiw Balkan Observatory Working Papers 119, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    6. Cavalcanti, Tiago & Vaz, Paulo Henrique, 2017. "Access to long-term credit and productivity of small and medium firms: A causal evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 21-25.
    7. Inés Butler & Gabriela Galassi & Hernán Ruffo, 2016. "Public funding for startups in Argentina: an impact evaluation," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 295-309, February.
    8. Eduardo Fernández-Arias & Charles Sabel & Ernesto H. Stein & Alberto Trejos, . "Two to Tango: Public-Private Collaboration for Productive Development Policies," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 7694, January.
    9. Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Gary Hansen, 2017. "Replacing Income Taxation with Consumption Taxation in Japan," 2017 Meeting Papers 1114, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Di Nola, Alessandro, 2015. "Capital Misallocation during the Great Recession," MPRA Paper 68289, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O25 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Industrial Policy


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