Innovation and Top Income Inequality
Review of Economic Studies,
In this article, we use cross-state panel and cross-U.S. commuting-zone data to look at the relationship between innovation, top income inequality and social mobility. We find positive correlations between measures of innovation and top income inequality. We also show that the correlations between innovation and broad measures of inequality are not significant. Next, using instrumental variable analysis, we argue that these correlations at least partly reflect a causality from innovation to top income shares. Finally, we show that innovation, particularly by new entrants, is positively associated with social mobility, but less so in local areas with more intense lobbying activities.
Innovation, Reallocation, and Growth
American Economic Review,
We build a model of firm-level innovation, productivity growth, and reallocation featuring endogenous entry and exit. A new and central economic force is the selection between high- and low-type firms, which differ in terms of their innovative capacity. We estimate the parameters of the model using US Census microdata on firm-level output, R&D, and patenting. The model provides a good fit to the dynamics of firm entry and exit, output, and R&D. Taxing the continued operation of incumbents can lead to sizable gains (of the order of 1.4 percent improvement in welfare) by encouraging exit of less productive firms and freeing up skilled labor to be used for R&D by high-type incumbents. Subsidies to the R&D of incumbents do not achieve this objective because they encourage the survival and expansion of low-type firms.
Growth through Heterogeneous Innovations
Journal of Political Economy,
We build a tractable growth model in which multiproduct incumbents invest in internal innovations to improve their existing products, while new entrants and incumbents invest in external innovations to acquire new product lines. External and internal innovations generate heterogeneous innovation qualities, and firm size affects innovation incentives. We analyze how different types of innovation contribute to economic growth and the role of the firm size distribution. Our model aligns with many observed empirical regularities, and we quantify our framework with Census Bureau and patent data for US firms. Internal innovation scales moderately faster with firm size than external innovation.