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Cognitive skill and technology diffusion: An empirical test

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  • Jones, Garett

Abstract

Cognitive skills are robustly associated with good national economic performance. How much of this is due to high-skill countries doing a better job of absorbing total factor productivity from the world's technology leader? Following Benhabib and Spiegel (Handbook of Economic Growth, 2005), who estimated the Nelson–Phelps technology diffusion model, I use the database of IQ tests assembled by Lynn and Vanhanen (2002, 2006) and find a robust relationship between national average IQ and total factor productivity growth. Controlling for IQ, years of education is of modest statistical significance. If IQ gaps between countries persist and model parameters remain stable, TFP levels are forecasted to sharply diverge, creating a “twin peaks” result. After controlling for IQ, few other growth variables are statistically significant.

Suggested Citation

  • Jones, Garett, 2012. "Cognitive skill and technology diffusion: An empirical test," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 444-460.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecosys:v:36:y:2012:i:3:p:444-460
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecosys.2011.10.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Salahodjaev, Raufhon, 2015. "Does intelligence help fighting inflation: an empirical test?," MPRA Paper 66882, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Messinis, George & Ahmed, Abdullahi D., 2013. "Cognitive skills, innovation and technology diffusion," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 565-578.
    3. Daniele, Vittorio, 2013. "Does the intelligence of populations determine the wealth of nations?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 27-37.
    4. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis & Rindermann, Heiner & Christainsen, Gregory, 2014. "Cognitive capital, governance, and the wealth of nations," MPRA Paper 57563, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human capital; Total factor productivity; Diffusion; Cognitive skill; Intelligence;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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