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Germs, Social Networks and Growth

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  • Alessandra Fogli
  • Laura Veldkamp

Abstract

Does the pattern of social connections between individuals matter for macroeconomic outcomes? If so, how does this effect operate and how big is it? Using network analysis tools, we explore how different social structures affect technology diffusion and thereby a country's rate of technological progress. The network model also explains why societies with a high prevalence of contagious disease might evolve toward growth-inhibiting social institutions and how small initial differences can produce large divergence in incomes. Empirical work uses differences in the prevalence of diseases spread by human contact and the prevalence of other diseases as an instrument to identify an effect of social structure on technology diffusion.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18470.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18470

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  1. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1995. "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1176-1209, December.
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  7. Alessandra Fogli & Raquel Fernandez, 2009. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work, and Fertility," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 146-77, January.
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  16. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Paolo Zeppini & Koen Frenken & Luis R. Izquierdo, 2013. "Innovation diffusion in networks: the microeconomics of percolation," Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) working paper series, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) 13-02, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS), revised Feb 2013.
  2. Lindner, Ines & Strulik, Holger, 2011. "From Tradition to Modernity: Economic Growth in a Small World," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP), Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät dp-478, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  3. Elsner, Benjamin & Narciso, Gaia & Thijssen, Jacco J. J., 2013. "Migrant Networks and the Spread of Misinformation," IZA Discussion Papers 7863, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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