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Growth theory under heterogeneous heuristic behavior

Orlando Gomes ()
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Orlando Gomes: Lisbon Accounting and Business School (ISCAL/IPL)

Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 2021, vol. 31, issue 2, No 7, 533-571

Abstract: Abstract Over the last decades, conceptual frameworks formulated to address the dynamics of economic growth have hypothesized, discussed and tested a large number of different assumptions concerning the role of capital accumulation, labor productivity, learning-by-doing, formal education, innovation, and diffusion of ideas. Underlying all these theoretical contributions is, on the demand side, a pervasive and apparently unshakable structure of analysis: economic agents invariably set an optimal intertemporal consumption plan which allows then to maximize utility over an infinite horizon. Such behavior, however, suggests a planning ability that agents often lack. In fact, household decisions are frequently designed on the basis of heuristics or rules-of-thumb that, although not optimal, are reachable under the cognitive constraints typically faced by human beings. This paper revisits some of the most prominent models of the mainstream growth theory, taking a specific heuristic to account for consumption-savings decisions. The heuristic, which allows for the consideration of distinct profiles of saving behavior across individual agents, is a static rule, which might suggest a return to a Solow-like growth analysis. Notwithstanding, the adopted rule-of-thumb encloses a series of novel and relevant implications for growth theory. Such implications are duly highlighted and discussed in this study.

Keywords: Growth theory; Consumption-savings heuristic; Non-optimal growth; Intertemporal choice; Neoclassical growth; Endogenous growth (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E21 O41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s00191-020-00674-8

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