Markets, Externalities, and the Dynamic Gains of Openness
Inflows of foreign knowledge are the key for developing countries to catch up with the world technology frontier. In this paper, I construct a simple tractable model to analyze (a) the incentives of foreign firms to bring their know-how to a developing country and (b) the incentives of domestic firms to invest in their own know-how, given the exposure to foreign ideas and competition. The model embeds two diffusion mechanisms typically considered separately in the literature: externalities and markets. The dynamic gains of openness can be substantial under either mechanism, but their relative ...
Of Cities and Slums
The emergence of slums is a common feature in a country's path towards urbanization, structural transformation and development. Based on salient micro and macro evidence of Brazilian labor, housing and education markets, we construct a simple model to examine the conditions for slums to emerge. We then use the model to examine whether slums are barriers or stepping stones for lower skilled households and for the development of the country as a whole. We calibrate our model to explore the dynamic interaction between skill formation, income inequality and structural transformation with the rise ...
Openness and the Optimal Taxation of Foreign Know-How
Developing countries frequently offer tax incentives and even subsidize the entry and operation of foreign firms. I examine the optimality of such policies in an economy where growth is driven by entrepreneurial know-how, a skill that is continuously updated on the basis of the productive ideas implemented in the country. Openness allows foreign ideas to disseminate inside a country and can foster the country's domestic accumulation of know- how. With externalities, however, laissez-faire openness is suboptimal and can be growth-and even welfare-reducing. I examine the gains from openness ...
Occupation Mobility, Human Capital and the Aggregate Consequences of Task-Biased Innovations
We construct a dynamic general equilibrium model with occupation mobility, human capital accumulation and endogenous assignment of workers to tasks to quantitatively assess the aggregate impact of automation and other task-biased technological innovations. We extend recent quantitative general equilibrium Roy models to a setting with dynamic occupational choices and human capital accumulation. We provide a set of conditions for the problem of workers to be written in recursive form and provide a sharp characterization for the optimal mobility of individual workers and for the aggregate supply ...
Natural Resources and Global Misallocation
Are production factors allocated efficiently across countries? To differentiate misallocation from factor intensity differences, we provide a new methodology to estimate output shares of natural resources based solely on current rent flows data. With this methodology, we construct a new dataset of estimates for the output shares of natural resources for a large panel of countries. In sharp contrast with Caselli and Feyrer (2007), we find a significant and persistent degree of misallocation of physical capital. We also find a remarkable movement toward efficiency during last 35 years, ...
Student Loans and Repayment: Theory, Evidence and Policy
Rising costs of and returns to college have led to sizeable increases in the demand for student loans in many countries. In the U.S., student loan default rates have also risen for recent cohorts as labor market uncertainty and debt levels have increased. We discuss these trends as well as recent evidence on the extent to which students are able to obtain enough credit for college and the extent to which they are able to repay their student debts after. We then discuss optimal student credit arrangements that balance three important objectives: (i) providing credit for students to access ...
Natural Resources and Global Misallocation
We explore the efficiency in the allocation of physical capital and human capital across countries. The observed marginal products can differ across countries because of differences in technology (i.e. production functions) and in distortions (i.e. differences in use of factors) across countries. To identify differences in technology, we use new data and propose a simple method to estimate output shares of natural resources, and thus adjust the estimated marginal products of physical and human capital. With a sample of 79 countries from 1970 to 2005, we find that the world has decidedly moved ...
Foreign firms and the diffusion of knowledge
This paper constructs a model to examine the impact of foreign firms on a developing Country?s own accumulation of entrepreneurial knowledge. In the model, entrepreneurial skills are built up on the basis of productive ideas that diffuse internally (at the inside of firms) and externally (spillovers.) Openness to foreign firms enhances the aggregate exposure to ideas but also reduces the returns to investing in entrepreneurial skills. When externalities are present, openness can be welfare reducing. However, regardless of the relative importance of externalities, simple quantitative exercises ...
Education Policies and Structural Transformation
This article studies the impact of education and fertility in structural transformation and growth. In the model there are three sectors, agriculture, which uses only low-skill labor, manufacturing, that uses high-skill labor only and services, that uses both. Parents choose optimally the number of children and their skill. Educational policy has two dimensions, it may or may not allow child labor and it subsidizes education expenditures. The model is calibrated to South Korea and Brazil, and is able to reproduce some key stylized facts observed between 1960 and 2005 in these economies, such ...
Faster Payments, More Disruptions
New payment technologies have transformed the banking system by increasing the efficiency and mechanisms to transfer funds. How will these innovations disrupt the banking system?