How does wealth inequality affect economic growth? Byoungchan Lee answers this question by developing a heterogeneous-agent model and augmenting it with endogenous firm innovation. The novel channel is that rising wealth concentration reduces aggregate demand, which gives firms a disincentive to spend on R&D and therefore leads to slower productivity growth. In this discussion, we first explain the difference in calibration strategy between Lee’s approach and the common approach in the literature, and then discuss its quantitative implications for the effect of rising inequality on aggregate consumption.
We study the reform of China’s state-owned enterprises (SOE) with a focus on the corporatization of SOEs. We first document the empirical patterns of the "grasp the large and let go of the small" policy. To quantify the implications of the reform for aggregate output and TFP, we build a three-sector firm dynamics model featuring financial frictions and endogenous firm-type choices. Our calibrated model shows that the SOE reform can increase long-run TFP by encouraging the exit of the least efficient firms in the state sector, but the magnitude of TFP growth also depends on the efficiency in capital reallocation. In the short run, corporatization increases aggregate output and TFP because it allows the most productive SOEs to have a higher borrowing capacity than they would under privatization.
We study China’s state-owned enterprises (SOE) reform with a focus on the corporatization of SOEs. We first empirically document that small SOEs are more likely to exit or become privatized, whereas big SOEs are more likely to be corporatized while remaining under state ownership. We then build a heterogeneous-firm model featuring financial frictions, endogenous entry and exit, and optimal firm-type choices. Our calibrated model suggests that in the long run, the SOE reform increases the aggregate output by facilitating resource reallocation to the private sector. Along the transition, the corporatization option leads to higher aggregate output than the privatization-only policy by giving a higher financing capacity to more productive incumbent SOEs.