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Population, technology and fragmentation: The European miracle revisited

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  • Lagerlöf, Nils-Petter

Abstract

The effects of political fragmentation on long-run development seem to have changed over the course of human history. Technological leaders used to be empires, but the Industrial Revolution started in the fragmented Europe. This paper sets up a model to help us think about this puzzle. There are two sets of mechanisms at play: a standard scale effect, which benefits unified regions, since technology is a non-rivalrous good; and several competition effects, both negative (like wasteful armies) and positive (incentives to invest in new technologies). We apply the model to analyze the preindustrial divergence between China and Europe.

Suggested Citation

  • Lagerlöf, Nils-Petter, 2014. "Population, technology and fragmentation: The European miracle revisited," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 87-105.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:108:y:2014:i:c:p:87-105
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2014.01.007
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    Cited by:

    1. Ko, Chiu Yu & Koyama, Mark & Sng, Tuan-Hwee, 2014. "Unified China and Divided Europe," CEI Working Paper Series 2014-7, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    2. Ko, Chiu Yu & Koyama, Mark & Sng, Tuan-Hwee, 2014. "Unified China; Divided Europe," MPRA Paper 60418, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. repec:spr:ecogov:v:19:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10101-018-0203-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Desmet, Klaus & Greif, Avner & Parente, Stephen L., 2017. "Spatial Competition, Innovation and Institutions: The Industrial Revolution and the Great Divergence," CEPR Discussion Papers 11976, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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