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Social Divergence and Productivity: Making a Connection

In: The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress 2002: Towards a Social Understanding of Productivity

  • R. Quentin Grafton

    (Senior Fellow, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Australian National University)

  • Stephen Knowles

    (Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of Otagio, New Zealand)

  • P. Dorian Owen

    (Professor of Economics, University of Otagio, New Zealand)

In this chapter, Quentin Grafton, Stephen Knowles and Dorian Owen examine the implications for productivity arising from the level of social diversity along a variety of dimensions, including ethnic, linguistic and religious differences and inequalities between rich and poor. Their basic intuition is that human beings tend to associate and communicate most readily with people similar to themselves, and their hypothesis is therefore that "social divergence" generates social barriers to communication among groups, inhibiting the diffusion of knowledge and lowering the level of productivity in the economy. As a consequence, the more diverse the society and the greater the number of distinct social groups, the higher are the communication costs and the greater are the barriers to the exchange of ideas and innovation.

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Handle: RePEc:sls:repsls:v:2:y:2002:rqg
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  1. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. James Moody & Douglas R. White, 2000. "Structural Cohesion and Embeddedness: A Hierarchical Conception of Social Groups," Working Papers 00-08-049, Santa Fe Institute.
  3. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," NBER Working Papers 3993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Aghion, Philippe & Caroli, Eve & Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia, 1999. "Inequality and economic growth: the perspective of the new growth theories," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9908, CEPREMAP.
  5. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
  6. Baldwin, John R. & Harchaoui, Tarek, 2002. "Productivity Growth in Canada," Productivity Growth in Canada, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis, number stcb6e, December.
  7. Harvey James, 2002. "The Trust Paradox: A Survey of Economic Inquiries Into the Nature of Trust and Trustworthiness," Microeconomics 0202001, EconWPA.
  8. Timothy C. Sargent & Edgard R. Rodriguez, 2000. "Labour or Total Factor Productivity: Do We Need to Choose?," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 1, pages 41-44, Fall.
  9. Miller, Stephen M. & Upadhyay, Mukti P., 2000. "The effects of openness, trade orientation, and human capital on total factor productivity," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 399-423, December.
  10. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
  11. Galor, O. & Tsiddon, D., 1996. "Technological Progress, Mobility and Economic Growth," Papers 13-96, Tel Aviv.
  12. Quentin Grafton & Stephen Knowles & P. Dorian Owen, 2001. "Social Divergence and Economic Performance," Working Papers 0103E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  13. John F. Helliwell & Geneviève Verdier, 2001. "Measuring internal trade distances: a new method applied to estimate provincial border effects in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1024-1041, November.
  14. Joel Sobel, 2002. "Can We Trust Social Capital?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 139-154, March.
  15. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. " Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-87, June.
  16. Deininger, Klaus & Olinto, Pedro, 2000. "Asset distribution, inequality, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2375, The World Bank.
  17. Clarke, George R. G., 1995. "More evidence on income distribution and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 403-427, August.
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