nep-gro New Economics Papers
on Economic Growth
Issue of 2020‒10‒12
nine papers chosen by
Marc Klemp
University of Copenhagen

  1. Borderline Disorder: (De Facto) Historical Ethnic Borders and Contemporary Conflict in Africa By Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio; Özak, Ömer
  2. Expanding the Measurement of Culture with a Sample of Two Billion Humans By Obradovich, Nick; Özak, Ömer; Martín, Ignacio; Awad, Edmond; Cebrián, Manuel; Cuevas, Rubén; Desmet, Klaus; Rahwan, Iyad; Cuevas, Ángel
  3. The Gravitational Constant? By David S. Jacks; Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke; Alan M. Taylor
  4. What Will Drive Long-Run Growth in the Digital Age? By Jakub Growiec
  5. Mass Refugee Inflow and Long-run Prosperity: Lessons from the Greek Population Resettlement By Elie Murard; Seyhun Orcan Sakalli
  6. The long-run impact of historical shocks on the decision to migrate: Evidence from the Irish Migration By Gaia Narciso; Battista Severgnini; Gayane Vardanyan
  7. Modeling and Forecasting Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa in the Post-Covid Era By Van, Germinal G.
  8. Fertility Changes and Replacement Migration By Yunus Aksoy; Gylfi Zoega
  9. Comment on 'Redistribution, inequality, and growth: new evidence' By Markus Jäntti; Jukka Pirttilä; Risto Rönkkö

  1. By: Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile); Özak, Ömer (Southern Methodist University)
    Abstract: We explore the effect of historical ethnic borders on contemporary conflict in Africa. We document that both the intensive and extensive margins of contemporary conflict are higher close to historical ethnic borders. Exploiting variations across artificial regions within an ethnicity's historical homeland and a theory-based instrumental variable approach, we find that regions crossed by historical ethnic borders have 27 percentage points higher probability of conflict and 7.9 percentage points higher probability of being the initial location of a conflict. We uncover several key underlying mechanisms: competition for agricultural land, population pressure, cultural similarity and weak property rights.
    Keywords: borders, conflict, territory, property rights, landownership, population pressure, migration, historical homelands, development, Africa, Voronoi tessellation, Thiessen tessellation
    JEL: D74 N57 O13 O17 O43 P48 Q15 Q34
    Date: 2020–09
  2. By: Obradovich, Nick (Max Planck Institute for Human Development); Özak, Ömer (Southern Methodist University); Martín, Ignacio (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid); Awad, Edmond (University of Exeter); Cebrián, Manuel (Max Planck Institute for Human Development); Cuevas, Rubén (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid); Desmet, Klaus (Southern Methodist University); Rahwan, Iyad (Max Planck Institute for Human Development); Cuevas, Ángel (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    Abstract: Culture has played a pivotal role in human evolution. Yet, the ability of social scientists to study culture is limited by the currently available measurement instruments. Scholars of culture must regularly choose between scalable but sparse survey-based methods or restricted but rich ethnographic methods. Here, we demonstrate that massive online social networks can advance the study of human culture by providing quantitative, scalable, and high-resolution measurement of behaviorally revealed cultural values and preferences. We employ publicly available data across nearly 60,000 topic dimensions drawn from two billion Facebook users across 225 countries and territories. We first validate that cultural distances calculated from this measurement instrument correspond to traditional survey-based and objective measures of cross-national cultural differences. We then demonstrate that this expanded measure enables rich insight into the cultural landscape globally at previously impossible resolution. We analyze the importance of national borders in shaping culture, explore unique cultural markers that identify subnational population groups, and compare subnational divisiveness to gender divisiveness across countries. The global collection of massive data on human behavior provides a high-dimensional complement to traditional cultural metrics. Further, the granularity of the measure presents enormous promise to advance scholars' understanding of additional fundamental questions in the social sciences. The measure enables detailed investigation into the geopolitical stability of countries, social cleavages within both small and large-scale human groups, the integration of migrant populations, and the disaffection of certain population groups from the political process, among myriad other potential future applications.
    Keywords: gender differences, regional culture, identity, cultural distance, culture
    JEL: C80 F1 J1 O10 R10 Z10
    Date: 2020–09
  3. By: David S. Jacks; Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke; Alan M. Taylor (Division of Social Science)
    Abstract: We introduce a new dataset on British exports at the bilateral, commodity-level from 1700 to 1899. We then pit two primary determinants of bilateral trade against one another: the trade-diminishing effects of distance versus the trade-enhancing effects of the British Empire. We find that gravity exerted its pull as early as 1700, but the distance effect then attenuated and had almost vanished by 1800. Meanwhile the empire effect peaked sometime in the late 18th century before significantly declining in value. It was only after 1950 that distance would once again exert the same influence that it has today. JEL codes: F1, N7
    Date: 2020–09
  4. By: Jakub Growiec
    Abstract: This paper considers the prospective sources of long-run growth in the future. Historically, in the industrial era and at the early stage of the digital era (which began approximately in the 1980s) the main growth engine is R&D. If in the future all essential production or R&D tasks will eventually be subject to automation, though, the engine of growth will be shifted to the accumulation of programmable hardware (capital), and R&D will lose its prominence. By contrast, if neither production nor R&D tasks will be fully automated, R&D will remain the main growth engine. Additional mechanisms potentially accelerating and sustaining growth are the accumulation of R&D capital (particularly important under partial automation), and hardware-augmenting technical change.
    Keywords: long-run growth, factor accumulation, technical change, automation, asymptotic dynamics
    JEL: O30 O40
    Date: 2020–09
  5. By: Elie Murard (IZA - Institute of Labor Economics); Seyhun Orcan Sakalli (King’s Business School, King’s College Londo)
    Abstract: We investigate the long-term consequences of mass refugee inflow on economic develop-ment. After the Greco-Turkish war of 1919–1922, 1.2 million Greek Orthodox were forciblyresettled from Turkey to Greece, increasing the host population by more than 20% within afew months. To examine the long-term effects of this event, we build a novel geocoded datasetlocating refugee settlements across the universe of more than four thousand Greek municipali-ties that existed in 1920. Using a battery of empirical strategies relying on different margins ofspatial and temporal variation in the refugee inflow, we find that localities with a greater shareof Greek refugees in 1923 display higher level of prosperity and industrialization sixty yearsafter the event. These long-run benefits of refugees appear to be driven by the provision of newagricultural know-how and the transfer of technological knowledge in textile, which fosteredgrowth through higher diversity in complementary skills. The economic gains of the resettle-ment were lower in places where refugees were clustered in separate enclaves and where theirskills were less easily transferable due to local geographic conditions.
    Keywords: Refugees, Immigration, historical persistence, economic development
    JEL: O10 O43 N34 N44
    Date: 2020–02
  6. By: Gaia Narciso (Trinity College Dublin); Battista Severgnini (Copenhagen Business School); Gayane Vardanyan (Trinity College Dublin)
    Abstract: What is the long-run impact of large negative historical events on the individual decision to migrate? We investigate this research question by looking at the effect of the Great Irish Famine (1845-1850) on the long-run individual decision to migrate to the US during the Age of the Mass Migration. We construct a unique dataset based on two early 20th century Irish Censuses and the Ellis Island Administrative Records. This allows us to test whether the Great Irish Famine, one of the most lethal episodes of mass starvation in history, had a long-run impact on individuals’ migration decisions. Controlling for individual and geographical characteristics, we find that the Irish Famine was a significant long-run driver of individuals’ migration choices.
    Keywords: mass migration, negative shock, long-run impact, Great Famine
    JEL: F22 N33 N93
    Date: 2020–01
  7. By: Van, Germinal G.
    Abstract: The coronavirus has deleteriously affected a great majority of countries in the world. Developed societies such as the United States and the majority of Western countries have had the highest rates of mortality because of the pandemic. Sub-Saharan Africa, on the other hand, has been the continent where the pandemic has not done excessive damages. Africa’s GDP growth did not significantly decrease compared with the other continents. Consequently, the purpose of this paper is to model and forecast economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa in the post-COVID era and to examine the factors that are part of the growth process of the continent. To appropriately develop an econometric model of the economic growth of Sub-Saharan Africa in the post-COVID era, we decided to use the time-series data. This time-series data will be the dataset used to develop the statistical model that will enable us to forecast the economic growth of the continent in the post-COVID era.
    Keywords: Econometrics, Macroeconomics, Mathematical Modeling, Time-Series Analysis, Autoregressive Model, Statistical Modeling
    JEL: C01 C02 C15 C22 C53 O11
    Date: 2020–09–27
  8. By: Yunus Aksoy; Gylfi Zoega
    Abstract: We study OECD countries that differ in immigration policies but share a high level of human capital. We find significant negative statistical relationship between 16 years lagged fertility and the rate of immigration in a panel of 23 countries, which indicates that immigration compensates for low fertility in the labor market.
    Keywords: fertility, replacement migration
    JEL: J13 J61
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Markus Jäntti; Jukka Pirttilä; Risto Rönkkö
    Abstract: An influential paper by Berg et al., 'Redistribution, inequality, and growth: new evidence', uses the SWIID data to examine the impact of inequality and redistribution on growth in both developing and developed countries. It finds that while inequality is harmful for growth, redistribution does not hamper growth. This comment demonstrates that the redistribution and inequality data the paper uses are not credible. They are largely based on imputations, not actual observations.
    Keywords: Growth, Redistribution, Inequality, Cross-country analysis
    Date: 2020

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