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Book Translations As Idea Flows: The Effects of the Collapse of Communism on the Diffusion of Knowledge

  • Ran Abramitzky

    ()

    (Stanford University)

  • Isabelle Sin

    (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)

We use book translations as a new measure of international idea flows and study the effects of Communism’s collapse in Eastern Europe on these flows. Using novel data on 800,000 translations, we show that while translations between Communist languages decreased by two thirds with the collapse, Western-to-Communist translations increased by a factor of seven and reached Western levels. Convergence was full in economically-beneficial fields such as sciences and only partial in culturally-beneficial fields such as history. The effects were larger for more Western-oriented countries. These findings help us understand how institutions shape the international diffusion of knowledge.

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File URL: http://www-siepr.stanford.edu/repec/sip/09-032.pdf
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Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 09-032.

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Date of creation: Aug 2010
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Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:09-032
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  1. Münich, Daniel & Svejnar, Jan & Terrell, Katherine, 1999. "Returns to Human Capital Under the Communist Wage Grid and During the Transition to a Market Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 2332, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  4. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 2005. "Patents, Citations, and Innovations: A Window on the Knowledge Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026260065x, June.
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  7. Mark Harrison, 2001. "Soviet industry and the red army under stalin : a military-industrial complex?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 609, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  8. Paul M. Romer, 2010. "What Parts of Globalization Matter for Catch-Up Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 94-98, May.
  9. Jaffe, A.B. & Trajtenberg, M., 1998. "International Knowledge Flows: Evidence from Patent Citation," Papers 11-98, Tel Aviv.
  10. Nathan Nunn, 2009. "The Importance of History for Economic Development," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 65-92, 05.
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