nep-gro New Economics Papers
on Economic Growth
Issue of 2020‒03‒30
six papers chosen by
Marc Klemp
University of Copenhagen

  1. Of mice and merchants: connectedness and the location of economic activity in the Iron Age By Bakker, Jan; Maurer, Stephan; Pischke, Jorn-Steffen; Rauch, Ferdinand
  2. Does Birthplace Diversity Affect Economic Complexity? Cross-country Evidence By Dany Bahar; Hillel Rapoport; Riccardo Turati
  3. Mass Migration and Technological Change By Andersson, David; Karadja, Mounir; Prawitz, Erik
  4. Education supply and economic growth in nineteenth-century France By Adrien Montalbo
  5. Labor Productivity, Capital Accumulation, and Aggregate Efficiency Across Countries: New Evidence for an Old Debate By Mendez-Guerra, Carlos
  6. Sample selection biases and the historical growth pattern of children By Schneider, Eric B.

  1. By: Bakker, Jan; Maurer, Stephan; Pischke, Jorn-Steffen; Rauch, Ferdinand
    Abstract: We study the causal relationship between geographic connectedness and development using one of the earliest massive trade expansions: the first systematic crossing of open seas in the Mediterranean during the time of the Phoenicians. We construct a geography based measure of connectedness along the shores of the sea. We relate connectedness to economic activity, which we measure using the presence of archaeological sites. We find an association between better connected locations and archaeological sites during the Iron Age, at a time when sailors began to cross open water routinely on a big scale. We corroborate these findings at world level.
    Keywords: urbanization; locational fundamentals; trade; ES/M010341/1
    JEL: F14 O47
    Date: 2020–01–23
  2. By: Dany Bahar (Center for International Development at Harvard University); Hillel Rapoport; Riccardo Turati
    Abstract: We empirically investigate the relationship between a country’s economic complexity and the diversity in the birthplaces of its immigrants. Our cross-country analysis suggests that countries with higher birthplace diversity by one standard deviation are more economically complex by 0.1 to 0.18 standard deviations above the mean. This holds particularly for diversity among highly educated migrants and for countries at intermediate levels of economic complexity. We address endogeneity concerns by instrumenting diversity through predicted stocks from a pseudo-gravity model as well as from a standard shift-share approach. Finally, we provide evidence suggesting that birthplace diversity boosts economic complexity by increasing the diversification of the host country’s export basket.
    Keywords: economic complexity, birthplace diversity, immigration, growth
    JEL: F22 O31 O33
    Date: 2020–03
  3. By: Andersson, David; Karadja, Mounir; Prawitz, Erik (Research Institute of Industrial Economics)
    Abstract: This paper studies the effect of emigration on technological change in sending locations after one of the largest migration events in human history, the mass migration from Europe to the United States in the 19th century. To establish causality, we adopt an instrumental variable strategy that combines local growing-season frost shocks with proximity to emigration ports. We document two sets of results. First, using novel data on technological patents, we find that emigration led to an increase in innovative activity in sending municipalities. Moreover, the increase in innovation is coupled with an increased adoption of new technologies in both the agricultural and industrial sectors. Second, in terms of local economic development, we find that emigration led to higher unskilled wages in agriculture, a shift towards employment in the nascent industrial sector, a larger presence of incorporated firms, as well as higher tax revenues.
    Date: 2020–03–20
  4. By: Adrien Montalbo (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Keywords: primary instruction,economic development,nineteenth-century France
    Date: 2020–02
  5. By: Mendez-Guerra, Carlos
    Abstract: This article studies the proximate sources of labor productivity differences across countries. Using a panel dataset for 74 countries covering the 1960-2010 period, it first documents that, relative to the US, labor productivity of the median country has been mostly stagnant, while cross-country disparities have drastically increased. Next, through the lens of a production function framework, it evaluates the proximate sources of labor productivity: physical capital, human capital, and aggregate efficiency. Results show stagnation and increasing disparities in physical capital, growth and decreasing disparities in human capital, and decline and increasing disparities in aggregate efficiency. By including the commonly unaccounted covariance between capital and aggregate efficiency into the analysis, disparities in aggregate efficiency explain most of the disparities in labor productivity across countries.
    Keywords: Productivity, Capital Accumulation, Efficiency, Stylized Facts
    JEL: O10 O40 O47
    Date: 2020–03–25
  6. By: Schneider, Eric B.
    Abstract: Bodenhorn et al. (2017) have sparked considerable controversy by arguing that the fall in adult stature observed in military samples in the United States and Britain during industrialisation was a figment of unobserved selection into the samples. While subsequent papers have questioned the extent of the bias (Komlos and A’Hearn 2016; Zimran 2017), there is renewed concern about selection bias in historical anthropometric datasets. Therefore, this paper extends Bodenhorn et al.’s discussion of selection bias on unobservables to sources of children’s growth, specifically focussing on biases that could distort the age pattern of growth. Understanding how the growth pattern of children has changed is important since these changes underpinned the secular increase in adult stature and are related to child stunting observed in developing countries today. However, there are significant sources of unobserved selection in historical datasets containing children and adolescents’ height and weight. This paper highlights, among others, three common sources of bias: 1) positive selection of children into secondary school in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; 2) distorted height by age profiles created by age thresholds for enlistment in the military; and 3) changing institutional ecology which determines to which institutions children are sent. Accounting for these biases adjusts the literature in two ways: evidence of a strong pubertal growth spurt in the nineteenth century is weaker than formerly acknowledged and some long run analyses of changes in children’s growth are too biased to be informative, especially for Japan.
    Keywords: selection bias; child growth; anthropometrics; health history; ES/L010267/2
    JEL: I00 N30 O15 J13 C52 C81
    Date: 2019–05–14

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