nep-gro New Economics Papers
on Economic Growth
Issue of 2022‒04‒18
ten papers chosen by
Marc Klemp
University of Copenhagen

  1. The Shadow of the Neolithic Revolution on Life Expectancy: A Double-Edged Sword By Franck, Raphaël; Galor, Oded; Moav, Omer; Özak, Ömer
  2. Human-Capital Formation: The Importance of Endogenous Longevity By Titus Galama; Hans van Kippersluis
  3. Expanding the Measurement of Culture with a Sample of Two Billion Humans By Obradovich, Nick; Özak, Ömer; Martín, Ignacio; Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio; Awad, Edmond; Cebrián, Manuel; Cuevas, Rubén; Desmet, Klaus; Rahwan, Iyad; Cuevas, Ángel
  4. How Landownership Equality Created a Low Wage Society: Pre-industrial Japan, 1600-1870 By Kumon, Yuzuru
  5. Historical Prevalence of Infectious Diseases and Entrepreneurship: the Role of Institutions in 125 Countries By Omang O. Messono; Simplice A. Asongu
  6. Education and economic growth By Valero, Anna
  7. Technological waves and economic growth: thoughts on the digital revolution By João Ferreira do Amaral
  9. "A Technology-Gap Model of Premature Deindustrialization" By Ippei Fujiwara; Kiminori Matsuyama
  10. Technology of Cultural Transmission I: The Printing Press By David Hugh-Jones; Mich Tvede

  1. By: Franck, Raphaël; Galor, Oded; Moav, Omer; Özak, Ömer
    Abstract: This research explores the persistent effect of the Neolithic Revolution on the evolution of life expectancy in the course of human history. It advances the hypothesis and establishes empirically that the onset of the Neolithic Revolution and the associated rise in infectious diseases triggered a process of adaptation reducing mortality from infectious diseases while increasing the propensity for autoimmune and in ammatory diseases. Exploiting an exogenous source of variation in the timing of the Neolithic Revolution across French regions, the analysis establishes the presence of these con icting forces - the beneficial effects on life expectancy before the second epidemiological transition and their adverse effects thereafter.
    Keywords: Life Expectancy,Health,Mortality,Neolithic Revolution,Epidemiological Transition,Infectious Disease,Autoimmune Disease,Diabetes,Crohn's Disease,HIV,COVID-19
    JEL: I10 I15 J10 N00 N30 O10 O33 Z10
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Titus Galama (University of Southern California); Hans van Kippersluis (Erasmus University)
    Abstract: We present a theory of human capital, with its two most essential components, health capital and, what we term, skill capital, endogenously determined within the model. Using the theory, and a calibrated version of it, we uncover and highlight an important economic mechanism driving human-capital formation, socio-economic and health disparities, human-capital based economic growth, and causal relations among the stocks of wealth, skill and health, namely whether individuals can influence their own length of life (endogenous longevity). Without the ability of individuals to influence their longevity, the effects of health, skill and wealth on later-life skill and health are muted. Any additional health, skill or wealth is not used for additional investment, but essentially consumed. These findings have important implications for the modeling of, and our understanding of, human-capital formation, disparities in human capital and health, and human-capital based economic growth.
    Keywords: health investment, education, human capital, health capital, dynamic optimal control, longevity
    JEL: D91 I10 I12 J00 J24
    Date: 2022–03
  3. By: Obradovich, Nick; Özak, Ömer; Martín, Ignacio; Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio; Awad, Edmond; Cebrián, Manuel; Cuevas, Rubén; Desmet, Klaus; Rahwan, Iyad; Cuevas, Ángel
    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 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: Culture,Cultural Distance,Identity,Regional Culture,Gender Differences
    JEL: C80 F1 J1 O10 R10 Z10
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Kumon, Yuzuru
    Abstract: Despite its sophistication, Early Modern Japan, 1600-1868, had among the lowest real wage levels ever recorded, half of those in pre-industrial England. This paper resolves this puzzle by considering the more equal landownership distribution in Japan relative to Europe. Due to institutional differences in land transmission, most of the rural population were landless in England but only 16% in Japan circa 1800. Using a Malthusian model, I show landownership equality in Japan paradoxically generated lower wages and GDP per capita. This is due to the concavity in the positive income-fertility curve resulting in greater equality generating greater population pressures. I provide evidence of the mechanism at the cross-country level and at the individual level using Japanese village censuses. If, as many historians believe, high wages in western Europe explain the onset of the Industrial Revolution, then Japan’s failure to industrialize first could have been shaped by its unusual pre-industrial equality.
    Date: 2022–04–01
  5. By: Omang O. Messono (University of Douala, Douala, Cameroon); Simplice A. Asongu (Yaoundé, Cameroon)
    Abstract: This study examines the effects of the historical prevalence of infectious diseases on contemporary entrepreneurship. Previous studies reveal the persistence of the effects of historical diseases on innovation, through the channel of culture. Drawing on the epidemiological origin of institutions, we propose a framework which argues that the impact of infectious disease prevalence on contemporary entrepreneurship is mediated by property rights. The central hypothesis posits that a guarantee of property rights reduces the effect of past diseases on entrepreneurship. Using data from 125 countries, we find strong and robust evidence on the proposed hypothesis and other results. Property rights are higher in countries where the prevalence of diseases was low, which leads to good entrepreneurship scores. In contrast, countries with high disease prevalence did not have time to develop strong institutions to secure property rights. This explains their low level of entrepreneurship today. These results are robust to alternative methods and measures of property rights. Furthermore, our results also confirm the level of development, culture and the digitalization of economies as transmission channels between past diseases and the current level of entrepreneurship.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship; institutions; diseases; property rights
    JEL: I0 J24 I21 I31
    Date: 2021–09
  6. By: Valero, Anna
    Abstract: This paper summarises the literature that has linked education and economic growth. It begins with an overview of the key concepts in neoclassical and endogenous growth models, and discussion on how these have been tested in the data. Issues with respect to specification, the measurement of human capital and causality are discussed, together with studies that have sought to address these. A more recent and growing literature that explores the links between firm level human capital and productivity, including externalities, is then summarised. Beyond studies that link human capital to economic performance directly, there are numerous studies that have explored the relationships between human capital and the determinants of growth including investment, technology adoption and invention. Key findings from this literature are drawn out, together with a summary of the literature that has linked the activities of universities (key producers of both human capital and innovation) to their local economies. The paper concludes with discussion of policy implications stemming from this body of research, and promising areas for future research.
    Keywords: human capital; growth; innovation
    JEL: O30 O40
    Date: 2021–04–28
  7. By: João Ferreira do Amaral
    Abstract: This paper develops concepts and theoretical models that can prove useful for the study of technological revolutions both from the point of view of economic growth theory and of economic history. The basic concepts are innovative capital, technological wave and technological revolution and a comparison is made with other concepts such as industrial revolution and social revolution in the Marxian sense.
    Keywords: economic growth; digital revolution; technological progress; innovation.
    JEL: E10 E11 E22 N10 O30
    Date: 2022–03
  8. By: Massimo Tamberi (Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali - Universita' Politecnica delle Marche)
    Abstract: This paper is about the evidence of the long run increase of life expectancy, and its relationship with the process of economic growth, an interesting research subject despite the recent events related to the covid-19 pandemic. The spirit in mainly empiric, but part of the empirical analysis is based on a simple model. The analysis proceeds through several steps, providing different new results. Initially, utilizing simple algebra, through the contemporaneous consideration of two independent "laws" of historical evolution, for life expectancy and per capita income, the paper reveals an implicit elasticity "at the frontier" between the two variables; this implicit, long-run elasticity comes out as necessarily decreasing. In a second, more complex step, the paper provides estimations of the determinants of life expectancy, distinguishing, according to the Preston curve literature, between transitory and "permanent" determinants, the latter being identified by scientific advancements in medicine related fields. The result suggests that the impact of scientific progress on life expectancy seems still sustained and not weaking, apparently at odds with the first result related implicit elasticity,
    Keywords: Life expectancy frontier; Preston curve; Technical progress
    JEL: O10 I15
    Date: 2022–04
  9. By: Ippei Fujiwara (Faculty of Economics, Keio University); Kiminori Matsuyama (Department of Economics, Northwestern University and Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo)
    Abstract: This paper presents a parsimonious mechanism for generating what Rodrik (2016) called premature deindustrialization (PD); the tendency that, compared to early industrializers, late industrializers reach their peaks of industrialization later in time, but earlier in per capita income, with lower peak manufacturing shares. In the baseline model, the hump-shaped path of the manufacturing sector is solely driven by the Baumol (1967) effect with the productivity growth rates of the frontier technology being the highest in agriculture and the lowest in services. The countries are heterogeneous only in the “technology gap,†their capacity to adopt the frontier technology, which might affect adoption lags across sectors differently. In this setup, we show that PD occurs when the following three conditions are met; i) the impact of the technology gap on the adoption lag is larger in services than in agriculture, ii) in spite of its relatively shorter adoption lag, the productivity growth rate is sufficiently higher in agriculture than in services that the cross-country productivity dispersion is larger in agriculture than in services; and iii) the impact of the technology gap on the adoption lag is not too large in manufacturing. It turns out that these conditions for PD jointly imply that the cross-country productivity dispersion is the largest in agriculture. In the first of the two extensions, we add the Engel effect on top of the Baumol effect so that the hump-shaped path of manufacturing is also shaped by nonhomothetic demand with the income elasticities being the largest in services and the smallest in agriculture. Even though adding the Engel effect to the Baumol effect changes the shape of the path, it does not change the main implications on how the technology gap generates PD. We also show that, if we had relied solely on the Engel effect, PD would occur only under the conditions that would imply that the cross-country productivity dispersion is the largest in services. In the second extension, we allow late industrializers to catch up by narrowing the technology gaps over time and show that the main results carry over, unless the catching-up speed is too high.
    Date: 2022–03
  10. By: David Hugh-Jones (School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich); Mich Tvede (School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich)
    Abstract: Existing theories of the effects of the printing press treat it as speeding up the transmission of technical knowledge. This cannot explain why a large proportion of both manuscripts and early printed books was religious. We argue that books transmit prudential and moral rules as well as technical information. These culturally transmitted rules provide a foundation for economic rationality, and solve problems of trust in large markets. In Europe, cheaper book production stimulated not only scientific progress, but also new forms of religion, which used book reading to inculcate rules appropriate to the emerging modern economy. We model the effect of the printing press on economic growth. Initially religious works dominate, but as the stock of technical knowledge grows, the proportion of technical works increases.
    Date: 2022–04–07

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