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A Schumpeterian model of growth and inequality

  • Hélène Latzer

This paper contributes to the analysis of the effects of demand structure on longterm growth. Introducing non-homothetic preferences in an otherwise standard quality- model, we first show that disparities in purchasing power generate positive R&D investment by quality leaders. This result is obtained with complete equal treatment in the R&D field between the incumbent patentholder and the challengers as well as without any concavity in the R&D cost function: in our framework, the incentive for a leader to invest in R&D stems from the possibility for an incumbent having innovated twice in a row to efficiently discriminate between rich and poor consumers displaying differences in their willingness to pay for quality. We hence exemplify a so far overlooked demand-driven rationale for innovation by incumbents. We then move to analyzing the impact of inequalities on long-term growth in our quality-ladder framework, and find that a lower level of wealth disparities always leads to an increase in the long-run growth rate. Finally, we show that beyond this negative impact on growth, inequalities also influence the allocation of the overall R&D effort between incumbents and challengers: a higher level of inequalities will in most cases lead to a bigger share of the overall R&D investment to be carried out by quality leaders.

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Paper provided by Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg in its series Working Papers of BETA with number 2011-20.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ulp:sbbeta:2011-20
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  1. Fajgelbaum, Pablo & Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 2011. "Income distribution, product quality, and international trade," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5843, The World Bank.
  2. Peter Neary & Carsten Eckel, 2006. "Multi-Product Firms and Flexible Manufacturing in the Global Economy," Economics Series Working Papers 292, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Aghion, P. & Howitt, P., 1989. "A Model Of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Working papers 527, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Harris, Christopher & Howitt, Peter & Vickers, John & Aghion, Philippe, 2001. "Competition, Imitation and Growth with Step-by-Step Innovation," Scholarly Articles 12375013, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Paul S. Segerstrom, 2007. "Intel Economics," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(1), pages 247-280, 02.
  6. Minniti Antonio, 2006. "Multi-product Firms, R&D, and Growth," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(3), pages 1-46, December.
  7. Cozzi Guido, 2007. "The Arrow Effect under Competitive R&D," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-20, January.
  8. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Reto Foellmi & Josef Zweim�ller, . "Income Distribution and Demand-induced Innovations," IEW - Working Papers 212, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  10. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
  11. Zweimüller, Josef, 1998. "Schumpeterian Entrepreneurs Meet Engel's Law: The Impact of Inequality on Innovation-Driven Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1880, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Avner Shaked & John Sutton, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition Through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13.
  13. Federico Etro, 2004. "Innovation by leaders," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 281-303, 04.
  14. Vincenzo Denicolò & Piercarlo Zanchettin, 2010. "Leadership Cycles," Working Papers 2010.35, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  15. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2003. "Economic Growth, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262025531.
  16. Pablo D. Fajgelbaum, 2011. "Income Distribution, Product Quality and International Trade," 2011 Meeting Papers 415, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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