Advances in economics and econometrics, vol. 3 by Dewatripont M., Hansen L.P., Turnovsky S.J. (eds.)

By Dewatripont M., Hansen L.P., Turnovsky S.J. (eds.)

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Extra info for Advances in economics and econometrics, vol. 3

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39 Things change significantly when at least one of the technologies stops being convex. To take an example, assume that the production technology remains what it was in the previous example but introduce a fixed cost of monitoring. Under these assumptions, the equation representing the evolution of wealth for 38 39 However, this model is consistent with divergence across countries: Those countries that have a better financial system, and therefore a lower m, will grow faster. This claim does depend in an important way on the fact that there is only one type of investment.

However, the models of poverty traps typically focus on the borrowers, even though it is easy to see how a very similar story would apply to lenders. , they have to meet). Therefore, they earn very low returns on their savings. Rutherford (1999) documents numerous examples in which the poor accept substantial negative rates of return in order to put their savings in a safe place. Given the low return on savings, they prefer not to save and stay poor. This story is empirically at least as plausible as any other story of the poverty trap, especially given that the poor are more likely to be lenders than borrowers.

This, however, raises the question of whether, in the end, this model is very different from the model where all the technologies are convex and there is no poverty trap, but the capital markets are extremely inefficient – after all, when capital markets do not work very well, convergence can take a very long time. My view is that it is nevertheless worth distinguishing between these two models because the forms of mobility that they permit are rather different. The convex model predicts a slow and steady rise for all the poor, which culminates in their catching up with the rich (or if there is no convergence, they still become very, very rich).

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