nep-gro New Economics Papers
on Economic Growth
Issue of 2020‒12‒21
seven papers chosen by
Marc Klemp
University of Copenhagen

  1. Celestial enlightenment: eclipses, curiosity and economic development among pre-modern ethnic groups By Anastasia Litina; Èric Roca Fernández
  2. Beyond 140 Characters: Introduction to The Role of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Economic Growth By Michael J. Andrews; Aaron Chatterji; Scott Stern
  3. Back to the past: the historical roots of labour-saving automation By Jacopo Staccioli; Maria Enrica Virgillito
  4. Dynamic General Equilibrium Modeling of Long and Short-Run Historical Events By Gary D. Hansen; Lee E. Ohanian; Fatih Ozturk
  5. Autonomous components of aggregate demand and capital accumulation in Richard Cantillon’s Essai? An inquiry through the lens of modern demand-led growth theory By Santiago José Gahn
  6. Trade Integration, Global Value Chains, and Capital Accumulation By Michael Sposi; Kei-Mu Yi; Jing Zhang
  7. Education Choice and Human Capital Accumulation with Endogenous Fertility Model By Hiroki Tanaka; Masaya Yasuoka

  1. By: Anastasia Litina (University of Macedonia); Èric Roca Fernández (Aix-Marseille Univ, CNRS, AMSE, Marseille, France.)
    Abstract: This paper revisits the role of human capital for economic growth among pre-modern ethnic groups. We hypothesise that exposure to rare natural events drives curiosity and prompts thinking in an attempt to comprehend and explain the phenomenon, thus raising human capital and, ultimately, pre-modern growth. We focus on solar eclipses as one particular trigger of curiosity and empirically establish a robust relationship between their number and several proxies for economic prosperity: social complexity, technological level and population density. Variation in solar eclipse exposure is exogenous as their local incidence is randomly and sparsely distributed all over the globe. Additionally, eclipses' non-destructive character makes them outperform other uncanny natural events, such as volcano eruptions or earthquakes, which have direct negative economic effects. We also offer evidence compatible with the human capital increase we postulate, finding a more intricate thinking process in ethnic groups more exposed to solar eclipses. In particular, we study the development of written language, the playing of strategy games and the accuracy of the folkloric reasoning for eclipses.
    Keywords: eclipses, human capital, development, curiosity
    JEL: N10 N30 E02 O10 O50 Z10
    Date: 2020–12
  2. By: Michael J. Andrews; Aaron Chatterji; Scott Stern
    Abstract: This is an introduction to the forthcoming volume "The Role of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Economic Growth." The chapters collected in this volume seek to answer the following questions: What is the relationship between innovation/entrepreneurship and economic growth in specific industrial sectors? How has the relationship between innovation /entrepreneurship and economic growth changed over time? How much do policies, programs, and specialized institutions meant to encourage innovation or entrepreneurship ultimately spur economic growth? Does innovation or entrepreneurship affect economic performance and social progress other than through measured productivity and economic growth, and if so, how can these effects be measured? We synthesize the chapters in this volume and present broad conclusions.
    JEL: O3 O4
    Date: 2020–11
  3. By: Jacopo Staccioli (Dipartimento di Politica Economica, DISCE, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore – Institute of Economics, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa); Maria Enrica Virgillito (Institute of Economics, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa – Dipartimento di Politica Economica, DISCE, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)
    Abstract: This paper, relying on a still relatively unexplored long-term dataset on U.S. patenting activity, provides empirical evidence on the history of labour-saving innovations back to early 19th century. The identification of mechanisation/automation heuristics, retrieved via textual content analysis on current robotic technologies by Montobbio et al. (2020), allows to focus on a limited set of CPC codes where mechanisation and automation technologies are more prevalent. We track their time evolution, clustering, eventual emergence of wavy behaviour, and their comovements with long-term GDP growth. Our results challenge both the general-purpose technology approach and the strict 50-year Kondratiev cycle, while provide evidence of the emergence of erratic constellations of heterogeneous technological artefacts, in line with the development-block approach enabled by autocatalytic systems.
    Keywords: Labour-Saving Technologies, Search Heuristics, Industrial Revolutions, Wavelet analysis
    JEL: O3 C38 J24
    Date: 2020–11
  4. By: Gary D. Hansen; Lee E. Ohanian; Fatih Ozturk
    Abstract: We provide quantitative analyses of two striking historical episodes, the timing of the Industrial Revolution in England, and the sources of U.S. economic fluctuations between 1889-1929. Applying data from 1245-1845 within the “Malthus to Solow” framework shows that the timing of the Industrial Revolution reflects a subtle interplay between large changes in TFP and deaths from plagues. We find that U.S. economic fluctuations, including the Panics of 1893 and 1907, were driven primarily by volatile TFP, and that growth during the “Roaring Twenties” should have been even stronger, reflecting a large labor wedge that emerged around World War I.
    JEL: E0 N1
    Date: 2020–11
  5. By: Santiago José Gahn
    Abstract: Recently, some authors have severely criticised the incorporation of the notion of autonomous components of aggregate demand in demand-led growth theory. We show that these components are present in Richard Cantillon’s Essai written in the XVIIth century, and that an implicit demand-led theory of capital accumulation can be also developed based on his writings.
    Keywords: Cantillon, Growth theory, History of Economic Thought
    JEL: E11 C22
    Date: 2020–11
  6. By: Michael Sposi; Kei-Mu Yi; Jing Zhang
    Abstract: Motivated by increasing trade and fragmentation of production across countries since World War II, we build a dynamic two-country model featuring sequential, multi-stage production and capital accumulation. As trade costs decline over time, global-value-chain (GVC) trade expands across countries, particularly more in the faster growing country, consistent with the empirical pattern. The presence of GVC trade boosts capital accumulation and economic growth and magnifies dynamic gains from trade. At the same time, endogenous capital accumulation shapes comparative advantage across countries, impacting the dynamics of GVC trade: a country becoming more capital abundant concentrates more on the capital-intensive stage of the production.
    JEL: E22 F10 F43 O4
    Date: 2020–11
  7. By: Hiroki Tanaka (Doshisha University); Masaya Yasuoka (Kwansei Gakuin University)
    Abstract: This paper sets an endogenous fertility model with endogenous education investment and examines determination of the share of households which select public education, income growth, income inequality, and fertility. Our paper presents consideration of policies of several types such as child allowances and education subsidies for private education and then examines how these policies affect education choice and other outcomes. Results show that a child allowance raises the share of households which select public education. Because of the tax burden, the subsidy for private education can not always raise the share of households which select private education. Furthermore, an increase in the subsidy for private education investment can not always raise the aggregate human capital accumulation even if the share of households selecting private education. The latter half of this paper presents derivation of policy allocations as a result of voting system and describes checking of the robustness of the obtained results.
    Keywords: ;Education choice, Endogenous fertility, Income growth, Income inequality, Subsidy
    JEL: J13 I22 H52
    Date: 2020–12

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