External and internal determinants of development
As Rodrik, Subramanian, and Trebbi (2004) point out, factors that affect economic development can be classified using a two-tier approach. Based on a standard production function, inputs such as labor and physical and human capital directly affect per capita income. Much of the empirical cross-country growth literature has focused on these covariates. But the factors themselves are the product of deeper and more fundamental determinants and, thus, are at best proximate factors of economic development. The deeper determinants fall into two broad categories: internal and external. Among the former, institutions and geography have received the most attention, while international trade has been the focus of the latter. The main purpose of this paper is to add an external factor, namely measures of migration, to the existing geography-institutions-trade setup and to evaluate its contribution to the observed differences in per capita income across countries.
AUTHORS: Osang, Thomas
Australian growth: a California perspective
Examination of special cases assists understanding of the mechanics of long-run economic growth more generally. Australia and California are two economies having the rare distinction of achieving 150 years of sustained high and rising living standards for rapidly expanding populations. They are suitable comparators since in some respects they are quite similar, especially in their initial conditions in the mid-19th century, their legal and cultural inheritances, and with respect to some long-term performance indicators. However, their growth trajectories have differed markedly in some subperiods and over the longer term with respect to the growth in the size of their economies. Most important, the comparison of an economy that remained a region in a much larger national economy with one that evolved into an independent political unit helps identify the role of several key policies. California had no independent monetary policy, or exchange rate, or controls over immigration or capital movements, or trade policy. Australia did, and after 1900 pursued an increasingly interventionist and inward-oriented development strategy until the 1970s. What difference did this make to long-run growth? And what other factors, exogenous and endogenous, account for the differences that have emerged between two economies that shared such similar initial conditions?
AUTHORS: Taylor, Alan M.; McLean, Ian W.
Estimating Border Effects: The Impact of Spatial Aggregation
Trade data are typically reported at the level of regions or countries and are therefore aggregates across space. In this paper, we investigate the sensitivity of standard gravity estimation to spatial aggregation. We build a model in which symmetric micro regions are aggregated into macro regions. We then apply the model to the large literature on border effects in domestic and international trade. Our theory shows that aggregation leads to border effect heterogeneity. Larger regions or countries are systematically associated with smaller border effects. The reason is that due to spatial frictions, aggregation across space increases the cost of trading within borders. The cost of trading across borders therefore appears relatively smaller. We call this mechanism the spatial attenuation effect. Even if no border frictions exist at the micro level, gravity estimation can still produce large border effects. We test our theory with trade flows at the level of U.S. states. Our results confirm the models predictions, with quantitatively strong heterogeneity patterns.
AUTHORS: Coughlin, Cletus C.; Novy, Dennis
The geography of stock market participation: the influence of communities and local firms
This paper is the first to investigate the importance of geography in explaining equity market participation. We provide evidence to support two distinct local area effects. The first is a community ownership effect, that is, individuals are influenced by the investment behavior of members of their community. Specifically, a ten percentage-point increase in equity market participation of the other members of one's community makes it two percentage points more likely that the individual will invest in stocks, conditional on a rich set of controls. We find further evidence that the influence of community members is strongest for less financially sophisticated households and strongest within "peer groups" as defined by age and income categories. The second is that proximity to publicly-traded firms also increases equity market participation. In particular, the presence of publicly-traded firms within 50 miles and the share of U.S. market value headquartered within the community are significantly correlated with equity ownership of individuals. These results are quite robust, holding up in the presence of a wide range of individual and community controls, the inclusion of individual fixed effects, and specification checks to rule out that the relations are driven solely by ownership of the stock of one's employer.
AUTHORS: Brown, Jeffrey R.; Ivkovic, Zoran; Smith, Paul A.; Weisbenner, Scott
Measuring R & D spillovers : on the importance of geographic and technological proximity
Evidence is presented which suggest that an important measure of the apparent geographic localization of R&D spillovers may be an artifact of industrial agglomeration. A production function framework is used to examine the role of geographic and technological proximity for inter-firm spillovers from R&D. The largest spillovers are found to flow between firms in the same industry. However, spillovers within narrowly defined technological groups do not appear to be attenuated by distance. Geographic proximity does appear to attenuate spillovers that cross narrowly defined technological boundaries, suggesting these spillovers may play a role in the agglomeration of a diversity of industrial activity.
AUTHORS: Orlando, Michael J.
On the importance of geographic and technological proximity for R&D spillovers : an empirical investigation
Empirical studies of the external effects of R&D suggest that both geographic and technological distance attenuate inter-firm spillovers from innovative activity. The results presented here indicate that the tendency for R&D spillovers to localize economic activity is conditional on the technological relation between spillover generating and receiving firms. The production function framework is generalized to control for correlation between measures of geographic and technological proximity. Coefficient estimates confirm that R&D spillovers are largest among technological neighbors. However, spillovers within narrowly defined technological groups do not appear to be attenuated by distance. Geographic proximity serves to attenuate only those inter-firm spillovers that cross narrowly defined technological boundaries.
AUTHORS: Orlando, Michael J.
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 that structural changes do not dictate the influences of geography and institutions on national income. This paper tests this theory and found it not supported by the data. Specifically, non-institutional factors predominantly explain the cross-country income variations among agrarian countries, while institutional factors largely account for the income differences across industrialized economies. In addition, we find evidence of developmental trap in which noninstitutional forces explain a country?s lack of industrialization, while institutions do not. The finding that institutions cannot account for the absence/presence of industrialization lends support to views held by many prominent historians who have cast serious doubts on the notion that institutional changes caused the British Industrial Revolution.
AUTHORS: Wen, Yi; Luo, Jinfeng
The geography of research and development activity in the U.S.
This study details the location patterns of R&D labs in the U.S., but it differs from past studies in a number of ways. First, rather than looking at the geographic concentration of manufacturing firms (e.g., Ellison and Glaeser, 1997; Rosenthal and Strange, 2001; and Duranton and Overman, 2005), the authors consider the spatial concentration of private R&D activity. Second, rather than focusing on the concentration of employment in a given industry, the authors look at the clustering of individual R&D labs by industry. Third, following Duranton and Overman (2005), the authors look for geographic clusters of labs that represent statistically significant departures from spatial randomness using simulation techniques. The authors find that R&D activity for most industries tends to be concentrated in the Northeast corridor, around the Great Lakes, in California's Bay Area, and in southern California. They argue that the high spatial concentration of R&D activity facilitates the exchange of ideas among firms and aids in the creation of new goods and new ways of producing existing goods. They run a regression of an Ellison and Glaeser (1997) style index measuring the spatial concentration of R&D labs on geographic proxies for knowledge spillovers and other characteristics and find evidence that localized knowledge spillovers are important for innovative activity.
AUTHORS: Carlino, Gerald A.; Buzard, Kristy
Portage: path dependence and increasing returns in U.S. history
The authors examine portage sites in the U.S. South, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest, including those on the fall line, a geomorphologic feature in the southeastern U.S. marking the final rapids on rivers before the ocean. Historically, waterborne transport of goods required portage around the falls at these points, while some falls provided water power during early industrialization. These factors attracted commerce and manufacturing. Although these original advantages have long since been made obsolete, the authors document the continuing-and even increasing-importance of these portage sites over time. They interpret this finding in a model with path dependence arising from local increasing returns to scale.
AUTHORS: Bleakley, Hoyt; Lin, Jeffrey
Portage and path dependence
The authors examine portage sites in the U.S. South, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest, including those on the fall line, a geomorphological feature in the southeastern U.S. marking the final rapids on rivers before the ocean. Historically, waterborne transport of goods required portage around the falls at these points, while some falls provided water power during early industrialization. These factors attracted commerce and manufacturing. Although these original advantages have long since been made obsolete, the authors document the continuing importance of these portage sites over time. They interpret these results as path dependence and contrast explanations based on sunk costs interacting with decreasing versus increasing returns to scale.
AUTHORS: Lin, Jeffrey; Bleakley, Hoyt