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Author:Oberfield, Ezra 

Working Paper
Plants in Space

We study the number, size, and location of a firm's plants. The firm's decision balances the benefit of delivering goods and services to customers using multiple plants with the cost of setting up and managing these plants and the potential for cannibalization that arises as their number increases. Modeling the decisions of heterogeneous firms in an economy with a vast number of widely distinct locations is complex because it involves a large combinatorial problem. Using insights from discrete geometry, we study a tractable limit case of this problem in which these forces operate at a local ...
Working Paper , Paper 20-05

Working Paper
Commodity money with frequent search

A prominent feature of the Kiyotaki and Wright (1989) model of commodity money is the multiplicity of dynamic equilibria. We show that the frequency of search is strongly related to the extent of multiplicity. To isolate the role of frequency of search in generating multiplicity, we (i) vary the frequency of search without changing the frequency of finding a trading partner and (ii) focus on symmetric dynamic equilibria, a class for which we can sharply characterize several features of the set of equilibria. For any finite frequency of search this class retains much of the multiplicity. For ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2010-22

The Global Diffusion of Ideas and Its Impact on Productivity and Growth

Economic growth often comes hand in hand with the growth of trade. However, according to quantitative models that rely on standard static mechanisms, the gains from trade are fairly small. This article introduces a model to study the diffusion of ideas across countries as a means of increasing productivity and provides a quantitative assessment of the role of trade in the transmission of knowledge.
Chicago Fed Letter

Working Paper
The Global Diffusion of Ideas

We provide a tractable theory of innovation and technology diffusion to explore the role of international trade in the process of development. We model innovation and diffusion as a process involving the combination of new ideas with insights from other industries or countries. We provide conditions under which each country's equilibrium frontier of knowledge converges to a Frechet distribution, and derive a system of differential equations describing the evolution of the scale parameters of these distributions, i.e., countries' stocks of knowledge. In particular, the growth of a country's ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2016-13

Working Paper
Micro data and macro technology

We study the implications of microeconomic heterogeneity for aggregate technology, showing that the aggregate elasticity of substitution between capital and labor can be expressed as a simple function of plant level structural parameters and sufficient statistics for plant heterogeneity. This allows for a new approach to estimating the aggregate elasticity using microeconomic data and allows us to examine how the aggregate elasticity varies over time or across countries. We then use plant level data from the Census of Manufactures to construct an aggregate elasticity of substitution for the ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2012-11

Working Paper
Business networks, production chains and productivity: A theory of input-output architecture

This paper studies an analytically tractable model of the formation and evolution of chains of production. Over time, entrepreneurs accumulate techniques to produce their good using goods produced by other entrepreneurs and labor as inputs. The value of a technique depends on both the productivity embodied in the technique and the cost of the particular input; when producing, each entrepreneur selects the technique that delivers the best combination. The collection of known production techniques form a dynamic network of potential chains of production: the input-output architecture of the ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2011-12



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