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Technology in the Great Divergence

In: Globalization in Historical Perspective

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  • Gregory Clark
  • Robert C. Feenstra

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the changes in per-capita income and productivity from 1700 to modern times, and show four things: (1) that incomes per capita diverged more around the world after 1800 than before; (2) that the source of this divergence was increasing differences in the efficiency of economies; (3) that these differences in efficiency were not due to problems of poor countries in getting access to the new technologies of the Industrial Revolution; (4) that the pattern of trade from the late nineteenth century between the poor and the rich economies suggests that the problem of the poor economies was peculiarly a problem of employing labor effectively. This continues to be true today.
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Suggested Citation

  • Gregory Clark & Robert C. Feenstra, 2003. "Technology in the Great Divergence," NBER Chapters,in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 277-322 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:9591
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jones, Charles I., 1994. "Economic growth and the relative price of capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 359-382, December.
    2. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, 1991. "Equipment Investment and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 445-502.
    3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
    4. Paolo Mauro & Nathan Sussman & Yishay Yafeh, 2002. "Emerging Market Spreads: Then versus Now," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(2), pages 695-733.
    5. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "International Factor Price Differences: Leontief Was Right!," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 961-987, December.
    6. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    7. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-1046, December.
    8. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2001. "Tropical Underdevelopment," NBER Working Papers 8119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Clark, Gregory, 1987. "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed? Lessons from the Cotton Mills," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 141-173, March.
    10. Brecher, Richard A & Choudhri, Ehsan U, 1982. "The Leontief Paradox, Continued," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 820-823, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan & Ariell Reshef & Bent E Sørensen & Oved Yosha, 2010. "Why Does Capital Flow to Rich States?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 769-783, November.
    2. Mehmet Fatih Ekinci & Şebnem Kalemli-Özcan & Bent E. Sørensen, 2009. "Financial Integration within EU Countries: The Role of Institutions, Confidence and Trust," NBER Chapters,in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2007, pages 325-391 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Oded Galor & Andrew Mountford, 2008. "Trading Population for Productivity: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1143-1179.
    4. Carolina Castaldi & Giovanni Dosi, 2008. "Technical Change and Economic Growth: Some Lessons from Secular Patterns and Some Conjectures on the Current Impact of ICT Technology," LEM Papers Series 2008/01, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    5. Carolina Castaldi & Giovanni Dosi, 2010. "Technical Change and Economic Growth: Some Lessons from Secular Patterns and Some Conjectures on the Current Impact of ICT," Chapters,in: Innovation and Economic Development, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Justin Yifu Lin, 2007. "Development and Transition : Idea, Strategy, and Viability," Development Economics Working Papers 22709, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    7. Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan & Bent E. Sorensen & Belgi Turan, 2007. "Where does Capital Flow? A Comparison of U.S. States and EU Countries 1950-2000," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 295, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    8. Schlicht, Ekkehart, . "Der Bruch der Theorie in der Praxis durch Not," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    9. Alan M. Taylor, 2004. "Commentary : demographic changes and international factor mobility," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Aug, pages 421-435.
    10. Meissner, Christopher M., 2014. "Growth from Globalization? A View from the Very Long Run," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 8, pages 1033-1069 Elsevier.
    11. Steinwender, Claudia, 2014. "Information frictions and the law of one price: "When the States and the Kingdom became United"," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2014-12, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    12. Mendonça, Sandro, 2013. "The “sailing ship effect”: Reassessing history as a source of insight on technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(10), pages 1724-1738.

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    JEL classification:

    • N7 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services

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