IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Long-Term Barriers to Economic Development

  • Enrico Spolaore
  • Romain Wacziarg

What obstacles prevent the most productive technologies from spreading to less developed economies from the world's technological frontier? In this paper, we seek to shed light on this question by quantifying the geographic and human barriers to the transmission of technologies. We argue that the intergenerational transmission of human traits, particularly culturally transmitted traits, has led to divergence between populations over the course of history. In turn, this divergence has introduced barriers to the diffusion of technologies across societies. We provide measures of historical and genealogical distances between populations, and document how such distances, relative to the world's technological frontier, act as barriers to the diffusion of development and of specific innovations. We provide an interpretation of these results in the context of an emerging literature seeking to understand variation in economic development as the result of factors rooted deep in history.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://ase.tufts.edu/econ/research/documents/2013/spolaoreLongTermBarriers.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Tufts University in its series Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University with number 0775.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tuf:tuftec:0775
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Medford, MA 02155, USA

Phone: (617) 627-3560
Fax: (617) 627-3917
Web page: http://ase.tufts.edu/economics

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Toubal, Farid, 2006. "Cultural proximity and trade," Tübinger Diskussionsbeiträge 305, University of Tübingen, School of Business and Economics.
  2. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2012. "How Deep are the Roots of Economic Development?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3837, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
  4. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2002. "People's Opium? Religion and Economic Attitudes," CEPR Discussion Papers 3588, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2006. "The Diffusion of Development," NBER Working Papers 12153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2011. "Robust Inference With Multiway Clustering," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(2), pages 238-249, April.
  7. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2011. "Long-Term Barriers to the International Diffusion of Innovations," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2011, pages 11-46 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Spolaore, Enrico & Wacziarg, Romain, 2013. "War and Relatedness," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 140, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  9. Paul Romer, 1989. "Endogenous Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 3210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Diego Comin & William Easterly & Erick Gong, 2006. "Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 B.C.?," NBER Working Papers 12657, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond the Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988.
  12. Jonah B. Gelbach & Doug Miller, 2009. "Robust Inference with Multi-way Clustering," Working Papers 99, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  13. Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc, 2010. "Inherited Trust and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2060-92, December.
  14. BOSSERT, Walter & D’AMBROSIO, Conchita & LA FERRARA, Eliana, 2008. "A Generalized Index of Fractionalization," Cahiers de recherche 01-2008, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  15. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2727, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro & Flavio Cunha, 2004. "The Technology of Skill Formation," 2004 Meeting Papers 681, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  17. Areendam Chanda & C. Justin Cook & Louis Putterman, 2013. "Persistence of fortune: Accounting for Population Movements, There was no Post-Columbian Reversal," Working Papers 2013-4, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  18. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2010. "Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch," Department of Economics Working Papers 2010-01, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised May 2011.
  19. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2010. "Development Accounting," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 207-23, January.
  20. Diego A. Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2009. "The CHAT Dataset," NBER Working Papers 15319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1995. "Technological diffusion, convergence and growth," Economics Working Papers 116, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  22. Oded Galor & Quamrul Ashraf, 2008. "Human Genetic Diversity and Comparative Economic Development," Working Papers 2008-3, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  23. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2001. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 298-319, April.
  24. Margaret S. McMillan & William A. Masters, 2000. "Climate and scale in economic growth," CSAE Working Paper Series 2000-13, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  25. Francesco Caselli, 2004. "Accounting for Cross-Country Income Differences," NBER Working Papers 10828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Ashraf, Quamrul & Galor, Oded, 2011. "The 'Out of Africa' Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 8500, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  27. Ashraf, Quamrul & Galor, Oded, 2013. "Genetic Diversity and the Origins of Cultural Fragmentation," IZA Discussion Papers 7176, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  28. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00641280 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2005. "Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange," CEPR Discussion Papers 4837, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  30. Louis Putterman & David N. Weil, 2008. "Post-1500 Population Flows and the Long Run Determinants of Economic Growth and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 14448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Klaus Desmet & Michel Breton & Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín & Shlomo Weber, 2011. "The stability and breakup of nations: a quantitative analysis," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 183-213, September.
  32. E. Ray Canterbery, 2014. "Introduction," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: The Economics of A Populist President, chapter 1, pages 1-11 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
  33. Wacziarg, Romain & Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Easterly, William & Kurlat, Sergio, 2002. "Fractionalization," Research Papers 1744, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  34. Guido Tabellini, 2008. "The Scope of Cooperation: Values and Incentives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 905-950.
  35. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 531-596.
  36. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2003. "Economic Growth, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262025531.
  37. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
  38. Jan Fagerberg, 2003. "Innovation: A Guide to the Literature," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20031012, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
  39. Olsson, Ola & Hibbs, Douglas Jr., 2005. "Biogeography and long-run economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 909-938, May.
  40. Francesco Caselli, 2005. "Accounting for cross-country income differences," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3567, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  41. S. Blankenburg, 2014. "Introduction," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(6), pages 1295-1305.
  42. Diego A. Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2008. "An Exploration of Technology Diffusion," Harvard Business School Working Papers 08-093, Harvard Business School.
  43. Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Barriers to Riches," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661306.
  44. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," NBER Working Papers 10568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  45. Parente, Stephen L & Prescott, Edward C, 1994. "Barriers to Technology Adoption and Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 298-321, April.
  46. David E. Bloom & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1998. "Geography, Demography, and Economic Growth in Africa," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 207-296.
  47. Robert J. Barro & Rachel McCleary, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 9682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  48. 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.
  49. Charles J. Cook, . "The Role of Lactose Tolerance in Pre-Colonial Development," Departmental Working Papers 2011-12, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
  50. Diego A. Comin & Martí Mestieri, 2010. "An Intensive Exploration of Technology Diffusion," NBER Working Papers 16379, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  51. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth across Countries," Scholarly Articles 3708464, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  52. Patricia Beeson & Tara Watson & Lara Shore-Sheppard, 2010. "Local Fiscal Policies and Urban Wage Structures," Department of Economics Working Papers 2010-05, Department of Economics, Williams College.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tuf:tuftec:0775. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Caroline Kalogeropoulos)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.