Population Growth, Technological Adoption, and Economic Outcomes in the Information Era
In this paper we argue that population growth, through its interaction with recent technological and organizational developments, may account for many cross-country differences in economic outcomes observed among industrialized countries over the past 20 years. In particular, our model illustrates how a large decrease in the price of information technology can create a comparative advantage for high population growth economies to jump ahead in the adoption of computer- and skill-intensive modes of production. They do this as a means of countering their relative scarcity of physical capital. The predictions of the model are that, over the span of the information revolution, industrial countries with higher population growth rates will experience a more pronounced adoption of new technology, a better performance in terms of increased employment rates, a poorer performance in terms of wage growth for less skilled workers, a larger increase in the service sector, and a larger increase in the returns to education. We provide preliminary evidence in support of the theory based on an examination of broad wage movements, employment changes, and computer adoption patterns for a set of OECD countries. (Copyright: Elsevier)
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Volume (Year): 5 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
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