Quality of Human and Physical Capital and Technological Gaps across Italian Regions
This paper evaluates the relative contribution of factor accumulation and technology in explaining output per worker differences across Italian regions in the period 2000-2004. The contributions of physical and human capital are separately estimated through the variance decomposition of output per worker. Whereas from a basic analysis of development accounting with crude data TFP emerges as a fundamental determinant of output per worker, when more accurate data are used in the estimations of human and physical capital, results change radically, showing a higher importance of factor accumulation with respect to previous standard estimations. Several measures of quality of human and physical capital are introduced: a) individuals’ cognitive skills as measured in international test scores; b) region specific rates of return on human capital; c) public investments and public-subsidized investments are weighted differently from private investment in the determination of physical capital stock. We show that better measurement of factor inputs allows a reduction in the solowian “measure of our ignorance”.
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