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Appropriate Technology, Human Capital and Development Accounting

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 relative 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.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Louisiana State University in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2012-03.

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Handle: RePEc:lsu:lsuwpp:2012-03
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  4. Andrés Erosa & Tatyana Koreshkova & Diego Restuccia, 2009. "How important is human capital? A quantitative theory assessment of world income inequality," Working Papers 2009-11, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
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  10. Chris Papageorgiou & Fidel Pérez Sebastián & John Duffy, 2002. "Capital-Skill Complementarity? Evidence From A Panel Of Countries," Working Papers. Serie AD 2002-09, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  11. Chris Papageorgiou & Viera Chmelarova, . "Nonlinearities in Capital-Skill Complementarity," Departmental Working Papers 2003-07, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
  12. Vollrath, Dietrich, 2009. "How important are dual economy effects for aggregate productivity?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 325-334, March.
  13. 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.
  14. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Armenter, Roc & Lahiri, Amartya, 2012. "Accounting for development through investment prices," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(6), pages 550-564.
  16. Atkinson, Anthony B & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1969. "A New View of Technological Change," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 79(315), pages 573-78, September.
  17. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2010. "Development Accounting," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 207-23, January.
  18. Benjamin F. Jones, 2011. "The Human Capital Stock: A Generalized Approach," NBER Working Papers 17487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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