Essays on intangible capital and economic development




Yang, Shenglang

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Canberra, ACT : The Australian National University


This thesis consists of six chapters that examine issues on intangible capital and economic development. Chapter 1 assesses the role of intangible capital in sectoral economic growth in China based on data from Input-Output Tables, and identifies the type of disaggregated intangible capital that has the largest effect on economic growth in each sector group. Chapter 2 studies the determinants of intangible investment in Chinese firms as well as the relationship between firm-level productivity and various types of intangible investment, and finds that firm size, human capital and institutional quality as well as market competition all play important roles in determining firms’ intangible investment. Chapter 3 investigates the role of organization capital in the production of Chinese listed firms, compares the contributions of organization capital to firms’ financial performance between listed state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and non-SOEs and finds that SOEs invest more in organization capital but have lower returns from the investment. Chapter 4 analyses the effect of intangible capital in reducing sectoral energy intensity as well as how this effect varies across sectors and economies of different development stages, which provides some useful policy implications. Chapter 5 compares the changing output elasticity as well as heterogeneity in the productivity spillover effect of intangible capital across various sectors and economy of different income level, and finds some interesting patterns. Chapter 6, which is the last chapter, revisits the lost decades of the Japanese economy based on an extended neoclassical growth model with intangible investment incorporated and finds that unmeasured intangible investment actually plays an important role in explaining the business cycles during the Japanese lost decades.



Intangible capital, economic growth, energy intensity, firm productivity, business cycles




Thesis (PhD)

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Open Access

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