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Philippe Aghion

Philippe Aghion is Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics at Harvard University. Aghion is coauthor (with Peter Howitt) of Endogenous Growth Theory (MIT Press, 1997).

Titles by This Author

This comprehensive introduction to economic growth presents the main facts and puzzles about growth, proposes simple methods and models needed to explain these facts, acquaints the reader with the most recent theoretical and empirical developments, and provides tools with which to analyze policy design. The treatment of growth theory is fully accessible to students with a background no more advanced than elementary calculus and probability theory; the reader need not master all the subtleties of dynamic programming and stochastic processes to learn what is essential about such issues as cross-country convergence, the effects of financial development on growth, and the consequences of globalization. The book, which grew out of courses taught by the authors at Harvard and Brown universities, can be used both by advanced undergraduate and graduate students, and as a reference for professional economists in government or international financial organizations. The Economics of Growth first presents the main growth paradigms: the neoclassical model, the AK model, Romer’s product variety model, and the Schumpeterian model. The text then builds on the main paradigms to shed light on the dynamic process of growth and development, discussing such topics as club convergence, directed technical change, the transition from Malthusian stagnation to sustained growth, general purpose technologies, and the recent debate over institutions versus human capital as the primary factor in cross-country income differences. Finally, the book focuses on growth policies--analyzing the effects of liberalizing market competition and entry, education policy, trade liberalization, environmental and resource constraints, and stabilization policy--and the methodology of growth policy design. All chapters include literature reviews and problem sets. An appendix covers basic concepts of econometrics.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: solution manual

Reconciling Theory and Evidence

Though competition occupies a prominent place in the history of economic thought, among economists today there is still a limited, and sometimes contradictory, understanding of its impact. In Competition and Growth, Philippe Aghion and Rachel Griffith offer the first serious attempt to provide a unified and coherent account of the effect competition policy and deregulated entry has on economic growth.

The book takes the form of a dialogue between an applied theorist calling on "Schumpeterian growth" models and a microeconometrician employing new techniques to gauge competition and entry. In each chapter, theoretical models are systematically confronted with empirical data, which either invalidates the models or suggests changes in the modeling strategy. Aghion and Griffith note a fundamental divorce between theorists and empiricists who previously worked on these questions. On one hand, existing models in industrial organization or new growth economics all predict a negative effect of competition on innovation and growth: namely, that competition is bad for growth because it reduces the monopoly rents that reward successful innovators. On the other hand, common wisdom and recent empirical studies point to a positive effect of competition on productivity growth. To reconcile theory and evidence, the authors distinguish between pre- and post-innovation rents, and propose that innovation may be a way to escape competition, an idea that they confront with microeconomic data. The book's detailed analysis should aid scholars and policy makers in understanding how the benefits of tougher competition can be achieved while at the same time mitigating the negative effects competition and imitation may have on some sectors or industries.

Advanced economies have experienced a tremendous increase in material well- being since the industrial revolution. Modern innovations such as personal computers, laser surgery, jet airplanes, and satellite communication have made us rich and transformed the way we live and work. But technological change has also brought with it a variety of social problems. It has been blamed at various times for increasing wage and income inequality, unemployment, obsolescence of physical and human capital, environmental deterioration, and prolonged recessions.

To understand the contradictory effects of technological change on the economy, one must delve into structural details of the innovation process to analyze how laws, institutions, customs, and regulations affect peoples' incentive and ability to create new knowledge and profit from it. To show how this can be done, Philippe Aghion and Peter Howitt make use of Schumpeter's concept of creative destruction, the competitive process whereby entrepreneurs constantly seek new ideas that will render their rivals' ideas obsolete.

Whereas other books on endogenous growth stress a particular aspect, such as trade or convergence, this book provides a comprehensive survey of the theoretical and empirical debates raised by modern growth theory. It develops a powerful engine of analysis that sheds light not only on economic growth per se, but on the many other phenomena that interact with growth, such as inequality, unemployment, capital accumulation, education, competition, natural resources, international trade, economic cycles, and public policy.