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Toward a microeconomics of growth

Author

Listed:
  • Burgess, Robin
  • Venables, Anthony J.

Abstract

What drives growth at the microeconomic level? The authors divide the factors that determine a location's growth performance into two groups,"1st advantage"and"2nd advantage."The term 1st advantage refers to the conditions that provide the environment in which new activities can be profitably developed, including most of the factors on which traditional theory has focused, such as access to inputs (labor and capital), access to markets, provision of basic infrastructure, and the institutional environment. The term 2nd advantage refers to factors that increase returns to scale and can lead to cumulative causation processes. They may be acquired by learning, through technological spillovers, or by the development of thick markets of suppliers and local skills. The authors'analysis suggests that empirical investigation of the drivers of growth must shift down to a more microeconomic level. Such an analysis has become more feasible as data at the subnational level have become more available. By viewing recent empirical evidence on drivers of growth through their analytical framework, the authors are able to begin to sketch out a microeconomic agenda for growth. They emphasize that it is the manner in which 1st and 2nd advantages interact that shapes the pattern of development. The authors then turn to the example of how policy has affected manufacturing growth performance in India. They analyze links between the direction of state-level labor regulation and growth in the organized manufacturing sector, how state-led expansion of bank branches into rural areas has affected unregistered or informal manufacturing, and how the pre-reform technological capability of industries affected their response to liberalization in 1991. The analysis suggests that policy choices at the local level affect growth. Both theory and empirics need to downshift to the microeconomic level if we are to make advances in identifying specific means of encouraging innovation and growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Burgess, Robin & Venables, Anthony J., 2004. "Toward a microeconomics of growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3257, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3257
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Gaurav Datt & Martin Ravallion, 2002. "Is India's Economic Growth Leaving the Poor Behind?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 89-108, Summer.
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    4. Chiquiar, Daniel, 2005. "Why Mexico's regional income convergence broke down," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 257-275, June.
    5. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2004. "Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 91-134.
    6. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "Land Reform, Poverty Reduction, and Growth: Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 389-430.
    7. Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2001. "Worms: Education and Health Externalities in Kenya," NBER Working Papers 8481, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian, 2005. "From "Hindu Growth" to Productivity Surge: The Mystery of the Indian Growth Transition," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 52(2), pages 193-228, September.
    2. Esther K. Ishengoma & Robert Kappel, 2008. "Business Constraints and Growth Potential of Micro and Small Manufacturing Enterprises in Uganda," GIGA Working Paper Series 78, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.

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