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A Short Review of Development Thinking and Experiences

作者:林毅夫   出版社:未知  和讯读书
  The process of sustainable per capita income increase and economic

  growth, characterized by continuous technological innovation and industrial

  upgrading, is a modern phenomenon. From Adam Smith to the early

  twentieth century, most economists believed that laissez-faire was the best

  vehicle for achieving sustainable growth in an economy. It was assumed

  that in thriving economies all decisions about resource allocation are made

  by economic agents interacting in markets free of government intervention.

  The price system determines not only what is produced and how but

  also for whom. Households and fi rms pursuing their own interests would

  be led, “as if by an invisible hand,” to do things that are in the interests

  of others and of society as a whole. Although the laissez-faire approach

  was challenged by Marxist economists and others, it became the dominant

  intellectual framework for the study of growth in all countries and

  remained so for a long time. It certainly provided many good insights on

  the process of economic development but it missed the importance of the

  process of continuous, fundamental technological changes and industrial

  upgrading, which distinguishes modern economic growth from premodern

  economic growth (Kuznets 1966).

  The study of economic development proceeds in two related but separate

  tracks: growth theories and development theories. While some of

  the key ingredients of modern growth theory such as competitive behavior,

  equilibrium dynamics, the importance of physical capital and human

  capital, the possibility of diminishing returns, and the impact of technological

  progress can be found in the work of classical economists (Ramsey

  1928; Schumpeter 1934), systematic modeling only started in the 1940s

  when some pioneers used primary factors to build generic models based on

  aggregate production functions. Harrod (1939) and Domar (1946) triggered

  extensive research along these lines. Following their initial work,

  the Solow-Swan model sparked the fi rst major wave of systematic growth

  analysis. The objective was to understand the mechanics of growth, identify

  its determinants, and develop techniques of growth accounting, which

  would help explain changes in the momentum and role of economic policy.

  That fi rst generation of growth researchers highlighted the centrality of

  capital. One important prediction from these models was the idea of conditional

  convergence, derived from the assumption of diminishing returns

  to capital—poor economies with lower capital per worker (relative to their

  long-run or steady-state capital per worker) will grow faster. While that

  assumption allowed the model to maintain its key prediction of conditional

  convergence, it also seemed odd: technology, the main determinant of longrun

  growth, was kept outside of the model (Lin and Monga 2010).

  A new wave of growth modeling had to come up with a convincing

  theory of technological change. Endogenous growth theory, as it came to

  be known, maintained the assumption of nonrivalry because technology is

  indeed a very different type of factor from capital and labor—it can be used

  indefi nitely by others, at zero marginal cost (Romer 1987, 1990; Aghion

  and Howitt 1992). But it was important to take the next logical step and

  to understand better the public good characterization of technology and

  think of it as a partially excludable nonrival good. The new wave therefore

  reclassifi ed technology not just as a public good but as a good that is

  subject to a certain level of private control. However, making it a partially

  excludable nonrival good and therefore giving it some degree of excludability

  or appropriability was not suffi cient to ensure that incentives for

  its production and use were socially optimal. The move away from perfect

  competition was therefore necessary. It has yielded high methodological

  payoffs. While neoclassical models of growth took technology and factor

  accumulation as exogenous, endogenous growth models explain why technology

  grows over time through new ideas and provide the microeconomic

  underpinnings for models of the technological frontier.

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