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Technology in the Great Divergence

  • Gregory Clark
  • Robert Feenstra

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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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8596.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8596.

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Date of creation: Nov 2001
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Publication status: published as Technology in the Great Divergence , Gregory Clark, Robert C. Feenstra. in Globalization in Historical Perspective , Bordo, Taylor, and Williamson. 2003
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8596
Note: ITI PR
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  1. 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.
  2. Paolo Mauro, 2000. "Emerging Market Spreads: Then Versus Now," Economics Series Working Papers 2001-FE-03, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Brecher, Richard A & Choudhri, Ehsan U, 1982. "The Leontief Paradox, Continued," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 820-23, August.
  4. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "International Factor Price Differences: Leontief Was Right!," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 961-87, December.
  5. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, 1990. "Equipment Investment and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3515, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294, November.
  7. 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.
  8. Jones, Charles I., 1994. "Economic growth and the relative price of capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 359-382, December.
  9. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-46, December.
  10. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2001. "Tropical Underdevelopment," NBER Working Papers 8119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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