nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2016‒07‒02
two papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Ancestry and Development: New Evidence By Enrico Spolaore; Romain Wacziarg
  2. Demographic Transition and the Unobservable Scale Effects of Economic Growth By Kaixing Huang

  1. By: Enrico Spolaore; Romain Wacziarg
    Abstract: We revisit the relation between ancestral distance and barriers to the diffusion of development using a new genomic dataset on human microsatellite variation. With these new data we find a statistically and economic significant effect of ancestral distance from the technological frontier on income per capita, controlling for geographic factors, climatic differences, continental fixed effects and genetic diversity within populations. The historical pattern of the effect is hump shaped, peaking between 1870 and 1913, and declining steeply afterwards. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that ancestral distance acts as a temporary barrier to the diffusion of innovations and development.
    Date: 2016
  2. By: Kaixing Huang (School of Economics, University of Adelaide)
    Abstract: Idea-based growth models usually predict that economic growth rates are increasing with the level or growth rate of the population. This scale effect prediction is intuitive and derived directly from the nonrivalry of ideas. However, time-series data over the last century generally did not support this scale effect prediction. This article illustrates why scale effects were unobservable. A modified idea-based model shows that economic growth rates increase with investments in human capital accumulation and population growth rates. The offsetting movements of these two factors during the demographic transition of the last century obscured the scale effects.
    Keywords: Economic growth, scale effects, human capital, population, demographic transition
    JEL: E27 O40
    Date: 2016–06

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