Knowledge, Institution, Power, and Economic Growth: Toward a Unified Economics of Growth
48 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2016
Date Written: April 17, 2016
The economics of growth centered on technological knowledge in endogenous growth models and the new institutional economics of growth centered on institutions have largely chartered their separate courses so far. In this paper, we construct a new growth model that brings the two economics of growth together by first bringing the quality of the stock of knowledge and the quality of economic institutions into an endogenous growth model and then making the model an evolutionary one via competition and selection of agents with different institutions. Our new model, illustrated with historical data and agent-based modeling (ABM) simulations, nicely accounts for two key stylized facts of economic growth: the coming of the Industrial Revolution and the “Great Divergences” thereafter. Our new model also makes it clear that the most critical factor shaping economic performance across time and space is the (mis-)allocation of production factors by political decisions: Who, under what institutions and power relationship, decides to deploy what knowledge and other production factors to make what. As such, the science of economic growth must be political economy with power/politics rather than neoclassical economics without power/politics.
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