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Appropriate Technology, Human Capital and Development Accounting

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  • Areendam Chanda
  • Beatrice Farkas

Abstract

Over the past decade, research explaining cross country income differences has increasingly pointed to the dominant role of total factor productivity (TFP) gaps as opposed to factor accumulation. Nevertheless, it is a widely held belief that a country's ability to absorb and implement technologies is tied to its human capital. In this paper, we implement this idea in a novel specification and explore its quantitative implications within a development accounting framework. In our model, intermediate goods production takes place over a range of industries, and human capital ratios in a country influence industry specific productivities asymmetrically. As a result, in human capital abundant countries, production is concentrated around industries with high TFP, while in low human capital countries, production is concentrated around industries with low TFP. Development accounting exercises for a range of parameter values suggest that this human capital-technology complementarity may account for eighteen to twenty five percent of differences in GDP per worker which is higher than the combined direct contribution of factors of production.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 1236.

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Length: 37 p.
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1236

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Keywords: Development accounting; total factor productivity; technology- skill complementarity; appropriate technology; human capital;

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  1. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
  2. John Duffy & Chris Papageorgiou & Fidel Perez-Sebastian, 2004. "Capital-Skill Complementarity? Evidence from a Panel of Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 327-344, February.
  3. Andres Erosa & Tatyana Koreshkova & Diego Restuccia, 2007. "How Important is Human Capital? A Quantitative Theory Assessment of World Income Inequality," Working Papers tecipa-280, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
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  7. Caselli, Francesco & Coleman II, Wilbur John, 2000. "The World Technology Frontier," CEPR Discussion Papers 2584, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Susanto Basu & David N. Weil, 1996. "Appropriate Technology and Growth," NBER Working Papers 5865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Dornbusch, Rudiger & Fischer, Stanley & Samuelson, Paul A, 1977. "Comparative Advantage, Trade, and Payments in a Ricardian Model with a Continuum of Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 823-39, December.
  10. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Chris Papageorgiou & Viera Chmelarova, . "Nonlinearities in Capital-Skill Complementarity," Departmental Working Papers 2003-07, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
  12. Benjamin F. Jones, 2011. "The Human Capital Stock: A Generalized Approach," NBER Working Papers 17487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Todd Schoellman, 2012. "Education Quality and Development Accounting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 388-417.
  15. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2010. "Development Accounting," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 207-23, January.
  16. Atkinson, Anthony B & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1969. "A New View of Technological Change," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 79(315), pages 573-78, September.
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