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The Division of Labor, Investment, and Capital

  • Xiaokai Yang

This paper uses a dynamic general equilibrium model based on corner solutions to formalize the classical theory of investment and capital which considers investment to be a vehicle for developing a high level of division of labor in roundabout productive activities. If it takes time for a specialist producer of tractors to learn the right method in producing commercially viable tractors, specialization in producing tractors is infeasible in the absence of investment in terms of consumption goods which are consumed by the specialist producer of tractor before he can sell tractors. If specialized learning by doing can speed up accumulation of professional knowledge so that roundabout productive machines becomes cheap, such investment for increasing the level of division of labor in roundabout productive activities will speed up economic growth. Due to the tradeoff between economies of specialized learning by doing and transaction costs, the model can be used to investigate the effects of a change in the transaction cost coefficient, which can be affected by policy, the legal system, and urbanization, on the evolution of division of labor, on real interest rates, and on saving rate.

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Paper provided by Center for International Development at Harvard University in its series CID Working Papers with number 8.

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Date of creation: Mar 1999
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Handle: RePEc:wop:cidhav:8
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  1. Jones, Charles I, 1995. "Time Series Tests of Endogenous Growth Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 495-525, May.
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  10. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 6849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
  16. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Young, Allyn A., 1928. "Increasing Returns and Economic Progress," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 38, pages 527-542.
  18. Sachs, Jeffrey D & Warner, Andrew M, 1997. "Fundamental," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 184-88, May.
  19. Jess Benhabib & Boyan Jovanovic, 1989. "Externalities and Growth Accounting," NBER Working Papers 3190, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Jones, Charles I, 1995. "R&D-Based Models of Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 759-84, August.
  21. Alwyn Young, 1998. "Growth without Scale Effects," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(1), pages 41-63, February.
  22. Borland, Jeff & Yang, Xiaokai, 1995. "Specialization, Product Development, Evolution of the Institution of the Firm, and Economic Growth," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 19-42, February.
  23. Pritchett, Lant, 1996. "Where has all the education gone?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1581, The World Bank.
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