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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Friction and the Multiplicity of Equilibria


In familiar models, a decrease in the friction facing mobile factors (e.g., lowering their adjustment costs) increases a coordination problem, leading to more circumstances where there are multiple equilibria. We show that a decrease in friction can decrease coordination problems if, for example, a production externality arises from a changing stock of knowledge or a changing environmental stock. In general, the relation between the amount of friction that mobile factors face and the likelihood of multiple equilibria is non-monotonic.

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