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Knowledge, natural resource abundance and economic development: Lessons from New Zealand 1861-1939


  • Greasley, David
  • Oxley, Les


We explore the role of knowledge accumulation in the economic development of a natural resource-rich country. New estimates of commodity output and patenting are used to show New Zealand's exceptionally high incomes before 1939 rested on a knowledge-led utilization of her economic landscape. By investigating the cointegrating and causal relationships among the output of 25 industries we show that a small number of leading industries formed development blocks. In turn most leading industries were driven by knowledge growth as reflected in patent statistics. Knowledge accumulation helped to transform the farming landscape and integrate farm and factory within a New Zealand system of mass production.

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  • Greasley, David & Oxley, Les, 2010. "Knowledge, natural resource abundance and economic development: Lessons from New Zealand 1861-1939," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 443-459, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:47:y:2010:i:4:p:443-459

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Clark, Andrew H., 1945. "The Historical Explanation of Land Use in New Zealand," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(02), pages 215-230, November.
    9. Greasley, David & Oxley, Les, 2007. "Patenting, intellectual property rights and sectoral outputs in Industrial Revolution Britain, 1780-1851," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 139(2), pages 340-354, August.
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    12. Greasley, David & Oxley, Les, 2000. "Measuring New Zealand's GDP 1865-1933: A Cointegration-Based Approach," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(3), pages 351-368, September.
    13. Magee, Gary Bryan, 1999. "Technological Development and Foreign Patenting: Evidence from 19th-Century Australia," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 344-359, October.
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    16. S. Encel & A. Inglis, 1966. "Patents, Inventions and Economic Progress," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 42(1-4), pages 572-588, March.
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    1. repec:wai:econwp:13/15 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. da Rocha, Bruno T. & Solomou, Solomos, 2015. "The effects of systemic banking crises in the inter-war period," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 35-49.
    3. Simon Ville & Olav Wicken, 2013. "The dynamics of resource-based economic development: evidence from Australia and Norway," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(5), pages 1341-1371, October.
    4. Marc Badia-Miró & Cristián A. Ducoing, 2014. "The long run development of Chile and the Natural Resources curse. Linkages, policy and growth, 1850-1950," UB Economics Working Papers 2014/318, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB Economics.


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