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Appropriate Technology, Human Capital and Development Accounting


  • Areendam Chanda
  • Beatrice Farkas


Over the past decade, research explaining cross country income differences has increasingly pointed to the dominant role of total factor productivity (TFP) gaps as opposed to factor accumulation. Nevertheless, it is a widely held belief that a country's ability to absorb and implement technologies is tied to its human capital. In this paper, we implement this idea in a novel specification and explore its quantitative implications within a development accounting framework. In our model, intermediate goods production takes place over a range of industries, and human capital ratios in a country influence industry specific productivities asymmetrically. As a result, in human capital abundant countries, production is concentrated around industries with high TFP, while in low human capital countries, production is concentrated around industries with low TFP. Development accounting exercises for a range of parameter values suggest that this human capital-technology complementarity may account for eighteen to twenty five percent of differences in GDP per worker which is higher than the combined direct contribution of factors of production.

Suggested Citation

  • Areendam Chanda & Beatrice Farkas, 2012. "Appropriate Technology, Human Capital and Development Accounting," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1236, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1236

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrés Erosa & Tatyana Koreshkova & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "How Important Is Human Capital? A Quantitative Theory Assessment of World Income Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1421-1449.
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    3. Todd Schoellman, 2012. "Education Quality and Development Accounting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 388-417.
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    13. repec:lsu:lsuwpp:2003-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Vollrath, Dietrich, 2009. "How important are dual economy effects for aggregate productivity?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 325-334, March.
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    More about this item


    Development accounting; total factor productivity; technology-. - skill complementarity; appropriate technology; human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • 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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