IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Expropriation Risk and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Firms


  • Virginia Olivella

    (Banque de France)


In this paper, I propose a general equilibrium model featuring heterogeneous firms and a government that is both unable to commit and relatively more impatient than firms. I find that, as predicted by theoretical papers on limited commitment, the threat of expropriation alone is enough to distort capital accumulation. Moreover, I show that the fact that the government is more impatient than firms induces additional growth dynamics by determining that distortions to capital do not completely go away once the long run stationary equilibrium has been reached. This is because the relative impatience of the government leads not only to decreases in promised utility by the firm when constraints do not bind, but also makes it very costly for a firm to increase its promised utility and capital when a constraint binds. Thus, promised utility will not increase as much as in the case where government and firms discount at the same rate, resulting in a stationary equilibrium level of capital that is less than optimal. Finally, when embedding the contracting problem between a firm and the government in a GE model with heterogeneous firms, I find that expropriation risk is capable of endogenously generating misallocation of resources across firms, with more productive firms being affected the most by the contracting frictions, thus leading to losses in aggregate output and total factor productivity in the long run stationary equilibrium.

Suggested Citation

  • Virginia Olivella, 2012. "Expropriation Risk and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Firms," 2012 Meeting Papers 985, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:985

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2007. "Volatility and Dispersion in Business Growth Rates: Publicly Traded versus Privately Held Firms," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 107-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Rui Albuquerque & Hugo A. Hopenhayn, 2004. "Optimal Lending Contracts and Firm Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 285-315.
    3. Francisco J. Buera & Yongseok Shin, 2013. "Financial Frictions and the Persistence of History: A Quantitative Exploration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(2), pages 221-272.
    4. Jonathan Thomas & Tim Worrall, 1994. "Foreign Direct Investment and the Risk of Expropriation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(1), pages 81-108.
    5. Tauchen, George & Hussey, Robert, 1991. "Quadrature-Based Methods for Obtaining Approximate Solutions to Nonlinear Asset Pricing Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 371-396, March.
    6. Mark Aguiar & Manuel Amador, 2011. "Growth in the Shadow of Expropriation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 651-697.
    7. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-684.
    8. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1403-1448.
    9. Albuquerque, Rui, 2003. "The composition of international capital flows: risk sharing through foreign direct investment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 353-383, December.
    10. Stephen E. Spear & Sanjay Srivastava, 1987. "On Repeated Moral Hazard with Discounting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(4), pages 599-617.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed012:985. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christian Zimmermann). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.