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Book Translations as Idea Flows: The Effects of the Collapse of Communism on the Diffusion of Knowledge

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Author Info

  • Ran Abramitzky

    ()
    (Stanford University and NBER)

  • Isabelle Sin

    ()
    (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)

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    Abstract

    We use book translations as a new measure of international idea flows and study the effects of Communism’s collapse in Eastern Europe on these flows. Using novel data on 800,000 translations and difference-in-differences approaches, we show that while translations between Communist languages decreased by two thirds with the collapse, Western-to-Communist translations increased by a factor of five and quickly converged to Western levels. Convergence was more complete in more economically-useful fields such as the sciences, and was more complete in Satellite than in Soviet countries. These findings help us understand how institutions shape the international diffusion of knowledge.

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    File URL: http://motu-www.motu.org.nz/wpapers/12_05.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Motu Economic and Public Policy Research in its series Working Papers with number 12-05.

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    Length: 53 pages
    Date of creation: May 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:mtu:wpaper:12_05

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    Related research

    Keywords: idea flows; book translations; institutions; institutional change; Communism's collapse;

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    Cited by:
    1. Cantoni, Davide & Yuchtman, Noam, 2013. "The political economy of educational content and development: Lessons from history," Munich Reprints in Economics 20002, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

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