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Contracting externalities and multiple equilibria in sectors: Theory and evidence
Bover, Neus; de Lucio, Juan J.; Rodríguez, Diego
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
We consider an economy where the production technology has constantreturns to scale but where in the descentralized equilibrium thereare aggregate increasing returns to scale. The result follows froma positive contracting externality among firms. If a firms issurrounded by more firms, employees have more opportunitiesoutside their own firm. This improves employees' incentives toinvest in the presence of ex post renegotiation at the firm level,at not cost. Our leading result is that if a region is sparselypopulated or if the degree of development in the region is lowenough, there are multiple equilibria in the level of sectorialemployment. From the theoretical model we derive a non-linearfirst-order censored difference equation for sectoral employment.Our results are strongly consistent with the multiple equilibriahypothesis and the existence of a sectoral critical scale (belowwich the sector follows a delocation process). The scale of theregions' population and the degree of development reduce thecritical scale of the sector.
incomplete contracts
multiple equilibria
delocation trap
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