Oriol Pons Benaiges was born in Barcelona (Spain), he is the son of a salesman and a professor. He attended public school until he was 18, when he was admitted to Pompeu Fabra University. Economics interested him so much that he decided to continue his education, first at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, where he obtained a Master’s degree, and then at Stanford University, where he is working for his PhD. Benaiges has specialized in economic development and economic history, two fields that he views as extremely complementary: studying the economics of the past can provide answers to important questions about economic development, which can hardly be tackled using only data from the last 10 or 20 years.
The goal of this research project is to measure the effects of the size and experience of industries on the productivity of individual firms within that industry. If small or new industries are less productive than big or older ones, then poor countries may be at a disadvantage in their efforts to develop those industries. Therefore, understanding these industry-level effects can have important consequences for economic policy in poor countries, which is why it is valuable to measure them. The experience of Japan after World War II represents a unique historical setting for such a measurement exercise. The exceptional economic growth and emergence of new industries that took place during this episode allow us to understand the relationship between the size and experience of industries and the productivity of their firms.