Economic Growth through Diversity in Beliefs

Philipp Illeditsch, Christian Heyerdahl-Larsen, Howard Kung - Aug 20, 2023

Working Paper No.  00126-00

We study a macro-finance model with entrepreneurs who have diverse views about the likelihood that their ideas will lead to successful innovations. These views and the resulting experimentation stimulate economic growth and overcome market failures that would otherwise occur in an equilibrium without this diversity. The resulting benefits for future generations come at the cost of higher wealth and consumption inequality because a few entrepreneurs will ex-post be successful while most entrepreneurs will fail. Hence, our model provides a potential explanation for the “entrepreneurial puzzle” in which entrepreneurs choose to innovate despite taking on substantial idiosyncratic risk accompanied by low expected returns. Venture capital funds and taxes enhance risk sharing among entrepreneurs, stimulating innovation and growth unless high taxes deplete entrepreneurial capital. Redistribution via taxes reduces inequality and can raise interest rates. Nevertheless, a tradeoff exists between risk-sharing and the exertion of costly effort, giving rise to a hump-shaped economic growth curve when plotted against tax rates.

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information Diverse beliefs disagreement Optimism Entrepreneurship Externality Endogenous Growth Innovations Tax distortions and Venture capital