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The Epidemic Effect: Epidemics, Institutions and Human Capital Development
Epidemics can negatively affect economic development unless they are mitigated by global governance institutions. We examine the effects of sudden exposure to epidemics on human capital outcomes using evidence from the African meningitis belt. Meningitis shocks reduce child health outcomes, particularly when the World Health Organization (WHO) does not declare an epidemic year. These effects are reversed when the WHO declares an epidemic year. Children born in meningitis shock areas in a year when an epidemic is declared are 10 percentage points (pp) less stunted and 8.2 pp less underweight ...
Institutions Do Not Rule: Reassessing the Driving Forces of Economic Development
The pursuit to uncover the driving forces behind cross-country income gaps has divided economists into two major camps: One emphasizes institutions, while the other stresses non-institutional forces such as geography. Each school of thought has its own theoretical foundation and empirical support, but they share an implicit hypothesis?the forces driving economic development remain the same regardless of a country?s stage of development. Such hypothesis implies a theory that the process of development in human history is a continuous improvement in income levels, driven by the same forces, and ...
Germs, Social Networks, and Growth
Does the pattern of social connections between individuals matter for macroeconomic outcomes? If so, where do these differences come from and how large are their effects? Using network analysis tools, we explore how different social network structures affect technology diffusion and thereby a country's rate of growth. The correlation between high-diffusion networks and income is strongly positive. But when we use a model to isolate the effect of a change in social networks, the effect can be positive, negative, or zero. The reason is that networks diffuse ideas and disease. Low-diffusion ...