• Acemoglu, D. and Johnson, S. (2007) “Disease and Development: The Effect of Life Expectancy on Economic Growth,” Journal of Political Economy, 115(6), pp. 925–985. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      We exploit the major international health improvements from the 1940s to estimate the effect of life expectancy on economic performance. We construct predicted mortality using preintervention mortality rates from various diseases and dates of global interventions. Predicted mortality has a large impact on changes in life expectancy starting in 1940 but no effect before 1940. Using predicted mortality as an instrument, we find that a 1 percent increase in life expectancy leads to a 1.7-2 percent increase in population. Life expectancy has a much smaller effect on total GDP, however. Consequently, there is no evidence that the large increase in life expectancy raised income per capita. (c) 2007 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..

  • Barro, R. and Lee, J.-W. (2010) “A New Data Set of Educational Attainment in the World, 1950-2010.” NBER Working paper 15902.
  • Barro, R. J. and Lee, J. W. (2013) “A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010,” Journal of Development Economics, 104(C), pp. 184–198. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      Our panel data set on educational attainment has been updated for 146 countries from 1950 to 2010. The data are disaggregated by sex and by 5-year age intervals. We have improved the accuracy of estimation by using information from consistent census data, disaggregated by age group, along with new estimates of mortality rates and completion rates by age and education level. We compare the estimates with our previous ones (Barro and Lee, 2001) and alternative measures (Cohen and Soto, 2007). Our estimates of educational attainment provide a reasonable proxy for the stock of human capital for a broad group of countries and should be useful for a variety of empirical work.

  • Becker, G. S., Murphy, K. M. and Tamura, R. (1990) “Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth,” Journal of Political Economy, 98(5), pp. S12–37. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      The authors’ analysis of growth assumes endogenous fertility and a rising rate of return on human capital as the stock of human capital increases. When human capital is abundant, rates of return on human capital investments are high relative to rates of return on children, whereas, when human capital is scarce, rates of return on human capital are low relative to those on children. As a result, societies with limited human capital choose large families and invest little in each member; those with abundant human capital do the opposite. This leads to two stable steady states. One has large families and little human capital; the other has small families and perhaps growing human and physical capital. Copyright 1990 by University of Chicago Press.

  • Becker, G. S. (1960) “An Economic Analysis of Fertility,” in Becker, G. S. (ed.) Demographic and Economic Change in Developing Countries. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Becker, G. S., Glaeser, E. L. and Murphy, K. M. (1999) “Population and Economic Growth,” American Economic Review, 89(2), pp. 145–149. doi: 10.1257/aer.89.2.145.
  • Becker, S. O., Cinnirella, F. and Woessmann, L. (2010) “The effect of investment in children’s education on fertility in 1816 Prussia,” Cliometrica. Springer, pp. 1–16.
    • Abstract

      The interaction between investment in children’s education and parental fertility is crucial in recent theories of the transition from Malthusian stagnation to modern economic growth. This paper contributes to the literature on the child quantity–quality trade-off with new county-level evidence for Prussia in 1816, several decades before the demographic transition. We find a significant negative causal effect of education on fertility, which is robust to accounting for spatial autocorrelation. The causal effect of education is identified through exogenous variation in enrollment rates due to differences in landownership inequality. A comparison with estimates for 1849 suggests that the preference for quality relative to quantity might have increased during the first half of the nineteenth century.

  • Becker, S. O., Cinnirella, F. and Woessmann, L. (2009) “The trade-off between fertility and education: evidence from before the demographic transition,” Journal of Economic Growth, pp. 1–28.
    • Abstract

      The trade-off between child quantity and education is a crucial ingredient of unified growth models that explain the transition from Malthusian stagnation to modern growth. We present first evidence that such a trade-off indeed existed before the demographic transition, exploiting a unique census-based dataset of 334 Prussian counties in 1849. Estimating two separate instrumental-variable models that instrument education by landownership inequality and distance to Wittenberg and fertility by previous-generation fertility and sex-imbalance ratio, we find that causation between fertility and education runs both ways. Furthermore, education in 1849 predicts the fertility transition in 1880-1905.

  • Becker, S. O., Hornung, E. and Woessmann, L. (2011) “Education and Catch-up in the Industrial Revolution,” American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 3, pp. 92–126.
    • Abstract

      Research increasingly stresses the role of human capital in modern economic development. Existing historical evidence—mostly from British textile industries—however, rejects that formal education was important for the Industrial Revolution. Our new evidence from tech- nological follower Prussia uses a unique school enrollment and fac- tory employment database linking 334 counties from pre-industrial 1816 to two industrial phases in 1849 and 1882. Using pre-industrial education as instrument for later education and controlling exten- sively for pre-industrial development, we find that basic education is significantly associated with nontextile industrialization in both phases of the Industrial Revolution. Panel data models with county fixed effects confirm the results.

  • Bils, M. and Klenow, P. J. (2000) “Does Schooling Cause Growth?,” The American Economic Review. American Economic Association, 90(5), pp. pp. 1160–1183. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      A number of economists find that growth and schooling are highly correlated across countries. A model is examined in which the ability to build on the human capital of one’s elders plays an important role in linking growth to schooling. The model is calibrated to quantify the strength of the effect of schooling on growth by using evidence from the labor literature on Mincerian returns to education. The upshot is that the impact of schooling on growth explains less than one-third of the empirical cross-country relationship. The ability of reverse causality to explain this empirical relationship is also investigated.

  • Bleakley, H. (2010) “Malaria Eradication in the Americas: A Retrospective Analysis of Childhood Exposure,” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2(2), pp. 1–45. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      This study uses the malaria-eradication campaigns in the United States (circa 1920) and in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico (circa 1955) to measure how much childhood exposure to malaria depresses labor productivity. The campaigns began because of advances in health technology, which mitigates concerns about reverse causality. Malarious areas saw large drops in the disease thereafter. Relative to non-malarious areas, cohorts born after eradication had higher income as adults than the preceding generation. These cross-cohort changes coincided with childhood exposure to the campaigns rather than to pre-existing trends. Estimates suggest a substantial, though not predominant, role for malaria in explaining cross-region differences in income. (JEL I12, I18, J13, O15)

  • Bleakley, H. (2007) “Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 122(1), pp. 73–117. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      This study evaluates the economic consequences of the successful eradication of hookworm disease from the American South, which started circa 1910. The Rockefeller Sanitary Commission (RSC) surveyed infection rates and found that 40 percent of school-aged children in the South were infected with hookworm. The RSC then sponsored treatment and education campaigns across the region. Follow-up studies indicate that this campaign substantially reduced hookworm disease almost immediately. Areas with higher levels of hookworm infection prior to the RSC experienced greater increases in school enrollment, attendance, and literacy after the intervention. No significant contemporaneous results are found for literacy or occupational shifts among adults, who had negligible prior infection rates. A long-term follow-up indicates a substantial gain in income that coincided with exposure to hookworm eradication. I also find evidence that the return to schooling increased with eradication. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Bleakley, H. and Lange, F. (2009) “Chronic Disease Burden and the Interaction of Education, Fertility, and Growth,” The Review of Economics and Statistics, 91(1), pp. 52–65. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      This study considers the eradication of hookworm disease from the American South (circa 1910) as a test of the quantity-quality (Q-Q) framework of fertility. Eradication was principally a shock to the price of quality because of three factors: hookworm (i) depresses the return to human capital investment, (ii) had a very low case-fatality rate, and (iii) had negligible prevalence among adults. Consistent with the Q-Q model, we find a significant decline in fertility associated with eradication. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Bloom, D. E. and Williamson, J. G. (1998) “Demographic Transitions and Economic Miracles in Emerging Asia,” World Bank Economic Review, 12(3), pp. 419–55. Available at: Link.
    • Abstract

      The demographic transition a change from high to low rates of mortality and fertility has been more dramatic in East Asia during this century than in any other region or historical period. By introducing demographic variables into an empirical model of economic growth, this essay shows that this transition has contributed substantially to East Asia’s so-called economic miracle. The ’miracle’ occurred in part because East Asia’s demographic transition resulted in its working-age population growing at a much faster pace than its dependent population during the period 1965-1990, thereby expanding the per capita productive capacity of East Asian economies. This effect was not inevitable; rather, it occured because East Asian countries had social, economic, and political institutions and policies that allowed them to realize the growth potential created by the transition. The empirical analyses indicate that population growth has a purely transitional effect on economic growth; this effect operates only when the dependent and working-age populations are growing at different rates. An important implication of these results is that future demographic change will tend to depress growth rates in East Asia, while it will promote more rapid economic growth in Southeast and South Asia.

      (This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

    • Bowlus, A. J. and Robinson, C. (2012) “Human Capital Prices, Productivity, and Growth,” American Economic Review, 102(7), pp. 3483–3515.
      • Abstract

        Separate identification of the price and quantity of human capital has important implications for understanding key issues in econom- ics. Price and quantity series are derived for four education levels. The price series are highly correlated and they exhibit a strong secu- lar trend. Three resulting implications are explored: the rising col- lege premium is found to be driven more by relative quantity than relative price changes, life-cycle wage profiles are readily interpre- table as reflecting optimal human capital investment paths using the estimated price series, and adjusting the labor input for quality increases dramatically reduces the contribution of MFP to growth.

    • Caselli, F. and Ciccone, A. (2012) “The Contribution of Schooling in Development Accounting: Results from a Nonparametric Upper Bound.”
      • Abstract

        How much would output increase if underdeveloped economies were to increase their levels of schooling? We contribute to the development ac- counting literature by describing a non-parametric upper bound on the increase in output that can be generated by more schooling. The advan- tage of our approach is that the upper bound is valid for any number of schooling levels with arbitrary patterns of substitution/complementarity. Another advantage is that the upper bound is robust to certain forms of endogenous technology response to changes in schooling. We also quan- tify the upper bound for all economies with the necessary data, compare our results with the standard development accounting approach, and provide an update on the results using the standard approach for a large sample of countries.

    • Ciccone, A. and Papaioannou, E. (2009) “Human Capital, the Structure of Production, and Growth,” The Review of Economics and Statistics. The MIT Press, 91(1), pp. pp. 66–82. Available at: Link.
      • Abstract

        We document that countries with higher initial education levels experienced faster value-added and employment growth in schooling-intensive industries in the 1980s and 1990s. This effect is robust to controls for other determinants of international specialization and becomes stronger when we focus on economies open to international trade. Our finding is consistent with schooling fostering the adoption of new technologies if such technologies are skilled-labor augmenting, as was the case in the 1980s and the 1990s. In line with international specialization theory, we also find that countries where education levels increased rapidly experienced stronger shifts in production toward schooling-intensive industries.

    • Cohen, D. and Soto, M. (2007) “Growth and human capital: good data, good results,” Journal of Economic Growth. Springer Netherlands, 12(1), pp. 51–76.
      • Abstract

        We present a new data set for years of schooling across countries for the 1960–2000 period. The series are constructed from the OECD database on educational attainment and from surveys published by UNESCO. Two features that improve the quality of our data with respect to other series, particularly for series in first-differences, are the use of surveys based on uniform classification systems of education over time, and an intensified use of information by age groups. As a result of the improvement in quality, these new series can be used as a direct substitute for Barro and Lee’s (2001; Oxford Economic Papers, 3, 541–563) data in empirical research. In standard cross-country growth regressions we find that our series yield significant coefficients for schooling. In panel data estimates our series are also significant even when the regressions account for the accumulation of physical capital. Moreover, the estimated macro return is consistent with those reported in labour studies. These results differ from the typical findings of the earlier literature and are a consequence of the reduction in measurement error in the series.

    • Conley, D., McCord, G. C. and Sachs, J. D. (2007) Africa’s Lagging Demographic Transition: Evidence from Exogenous Impacts of Malaria Ecology and Agricultural Technology. NBER Working Papers 12892. National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc. Available at: Link.
      • Abstract

        Much of Africa has not yet gone through a "demographic transition" to reduced mortality and fertility rates. The fact that the continent’s countries remain mired in a Malthusian crisis of high mortality, high fertility, and rapid population growth (with an accompanying state of chronic extreme poverty) has been attributed to many factors ranging from the status of women, pro-natalist policies, poverty itself, and social institutions. There remains, however, a large degree of uncertainty among demographers as to the relative importance of these factors on a comparative or historical basis. Moreover, econometric estimation is complicated by endogeneity among fertility and other variables of interest. We attempt to improve estimation (particularly of the effect of the child mortality variable) by deploying exogenous variation in the ecology of malaria transmission and in agricultural productivity through the staggered introduction of Green Revolution, high-yield seed varieties. Results show that child mortality (proxied by infant mortality) is by far the most important factor among those explaining aggregate total fertility rates, followed by farm productivity. Female literacy (or schooling) and aggregate income do not seem to matter as much, comparatively.

    • Davis, K. (1956) “The Amazing Decline of Mortality in Underdeveloped Areas,” American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, 46, pp. 305–18.
    • Doepke, M. (2004) “Accounting for fertility decline during the transition to growth,” Journal of Economic Growth. Springer, 9(3), pp. 347–383.
      • Abstract

        In every developed country, the economic transition from pre-industrial stagnation to modern growth was accompanied by a demographic transition from high to low fertility. Even though the overall pattern is repeated, there are large cross-country variations in the timing and speed of the demographic transition. What accounts for falling fertility during the transition to growth? To answer this question, this paper develops a unified growth model that delivers a transition from stagnation to growth, accompanied by declining fertility. The model is used to determine whether government policies that affect the opportunity cost of education can account for cross-country variations in fertility decline. Among the policies considered, education subsidies are found to have only minor effects, while accounting for child labor regulation is crucial. Apart from influencing fertility, the policies also determine the evolution of the income distribution in the course of development.

    • Doepke, M. and Zilibotti, F. (2005) “The macroeconomics of child labor regulation,” The American economic review. American Economic Association, 95(5), pp. 1492–1524.
      • Abstract

        We develop a positive theory of the adoption of child labor laws. Workers who compete with children in the labor market support a child labor ban, unless their own working children provide a large fraction of family income. Fertility decisions lock agents into specific political preferences, and multiple steady states can arise. The introduction of child labor laws can be triggered by skill-biased technological change, which induces parents to choose smaller families. The theory can account for the observation that, in Britain, regulations were first introduced after a period of rising wage inequality, and coincided with rapid fertility decline.

    • Erosa, A., Korshkova, T. and Restuccia, D. (2010) “How Important is Human Capital? A Quantitative Theory Assessment of World Income Inequality,” Review of Economic Studies, 77(4), pp. 1421–49.
      • Abstract

        We build a model of heterogeneous individuals-who make investments in schooling quantity and quality-to quantify the importance of differences in human capital vs. total factor productivity (TFP) in explaining the variation in "per capita" income across countries. The production of human capital requires expenditures and time inputs; the relative importance of these inputs determines the predictions of the theory for inequality both within and across countries. We discipline our quantitative assessment with a calibration firmly grounded on US micro evidence. Since in our calibrated model economy human capital production requires a significant amount of expenditures, TFP changes affect disproportionately the benefits and costs of human capital accumulation. Our main finding is that human capital accumulation strongly amplifies TFP differences across countries: to explain a 20-fold difference in the output per worker, the model requires a 5-fold difference in the TFP of the tradable sector, vs. an 18-fold difference if human capital is fixed across countries.

    • Fogel, R. W. (2004) The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700-2100. Cambridge University Press.
    • Gallego, F. A. (2010) “Historical Origins of Schooling: The Role of Democracy and Political Decentralization,” The Review of Economics and Statistics. The MIT Press, 92(2), pp. pp. 228–243. Available at: Link.
      • Abstract

        Why does schooling attainment vary widely across countries? Why are differences in schooling attainment highly persistent? I show that cross-country differences in schooling are related to political institutions, such as democracy and local democracy (political decentralization), which are affected by colonial factors. By using the number of native cultures before colonization as an instrument for political decentralization, I show that after controlling for the causal effect of income on schooling, the degree of democratization positively affects the development of primary education, whereas political decentralization has a positive and significant impact on more advanced levels of schooling.

    • Galor, O. (2012) “The demographic transition: causes and consequences,” Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, 6(1), pp. 1–28. Available at: Link.
      • Abstract

        This paper develops the theoretical foundations and the testable implications of the various mechanisms that have been proposed as possible triggers for the demographic transition. Moreover, it examines the empirical validity of each of the theories and their significance for the understanding of the transition from stagnation to growth. The analysis suggests that the rise in the demand for human capital in the process of development was the main trigger for the decline in fertility and the transition to modern growth.

    • Galor, O. (2011) Unified Growth Theory. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
    • Galor, O. and Moav, O. (2004) “From physical to human capital accumulation: Inequality and the process of development,” Review of Economic Studies. Wiley Online Library, 71(4), pp. 1001–1026.
      • Abstract

        This paper develops a growth theory that captures the replacement of physical capital accumulation by human capital accumulation as a prime engine of growth along the process of development. It argues that the positive impact of inequality on the growth process was reversed in this process. In early stages of the Industrial Revolution, when physical capital accumulation was the prime source of growth, inequality stimulated development by channelling resources towards individuals with a higher propensity to save. As human capital emerged as a growth engine, equality alleviated adverse effects of credit constraints on human capital accumulation, stimulating the growth process.

    • Galor, O., Moav, O. and Vollrath, D. (2009) “Inequality in Landownership, the Emergence of Human-Capital Promoting Institutions, and the Great Divergence,” Review of Economic Studies, 76(1), pp. 143–179.   Paper   Data
      • Abstract

        This research suggests that favorable geographical conditions, that were inherently associated with inequality in the distribution of land ownership, adversely affected the implementation of human capital promoting institutions (e.g., public schooling and child labor regulations), and thus the pace and the nature of the transition from an agricultural to an industrial economy, contributing to the emergence of the Great Divergence in income per capita across countries. The basic premise of this research, regarding the negative effect of land inequality on public expenditure on education is established empirically based on cross-state data from the beginning of the 20th century in the United States.

    • Galor, O. and Weil, D. N. (2000) “Population, technology, and growth: From Malthusian stagnation to the demographic transition and beyond,” The American Economic Review. JSTOR, 90(4), pp. 806–828. Available at: Link.
      • Abstract

        This paper develops a unified growth model that captures the historical evolution of population, technology, and output. It encompasses the endogenous transition between three regimes that have characterized economic development. The economy evolves from a Malthusian regime, where technological progress is slow and population growth prevents any sustained rise in income per capita, into a Post-Malthusian regime, where technological progress rises and population growth absorbs only part of output growth. Ultimately, a demographic transition reverses the positive relationship between income and population growth, and the economy enters a Modern Growth regime, with reduced population growth and sustained income growth.

    • Gennaioli, N., La Porta, R., Lopez-de-Silanes, F. and Shleifer, A. (2013) “Human Capital and Regional Development,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 128(1), pp. 105–164.
      • Abstract

        We investigate the determinants of regional development using a newly constructed database of 1569 sub-national regions from 110 countries covering 74 percent of the world’s surface and 97 percent of its GDP. We combine the cross-regional analysis of geographic, institutional, cultural, and human capital determinants of regional development with an examination of productivity in several thousand establishments located in these regions. To organize the discussion, we present a new model of regional development that introduces into a standard migration framework elements of both the Lucas (1978) model of the allocation of talent between entrepreneurship and work, and the Lucas (1988) model of human capital externalities. The evidence points to the paramount importance of human capital in accounting for regional differences in development, but also suggests from model estimation and calibration that entrepreneurial inputs and possibly human capital externalities help understand the data.

    • Go, S. and Lindert, P. (2010) “The Uneven Rise of American Public Schools to 1850,” The Journal of Economic History. Cambridge Univ Press, 70(01), pp. 1–26.
      • Abstract

        Three factors help to explain why school enrollments in the Northern United States were higher than those in the South and in most of Europe by 1850. One was affordability: the northern schools had lower direct costs relative to income. The second was the greater autonomy of local governments. The third was the greater diffusion of voting power among the citizenry in much of the North, especially in rural communities. The distribution of local political voice appears to be a robust predictor of tax support and enrollments, both within and between regions. Extra local voice raised tax support without crowding out private support for education.

    • Guinnane, T. W. (2011) “The Historical Fertility Transition: A Guide for Economists,” Journal of Economic Literature, 49(3), pp. 589–614. Available at: Link.
      • Abstract

        The historical fertility transition is the process by which much of Europe and North America went from high to low fertility in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This transformation is central to recent accounts of long-run economic growth. Prior to the transition, women bore as many as eight children each, and the elasticity of fertility with respect to incomes was positive. Today, many women have no children at all, and the elasticity of fertility with respect to incomes is zero or even negative. This paper discusses the large literature on the historical fertility transition, focusing on what we do and do not know about the process. I stress some possible misunderstanding of the demographic literature, and discuss an agenda for future work. (JEL I12, J13, N30)

    • Hanushek, E. and Woessmann, L. (2012) “Do better schools lead to more growth? Cognitive skills, economic outcomes, and causation,” Journal of Economic Growth. Springer Netherlands, 17(4), pp. 267–321. Available at: Link.
      • Abstract

        We develop a new metric for the distribution of educational achievement across countries that can further track the cognitive skill distribution within countries and over time. Cross-country growth regressions generate a close relationship between educational achievement and GDP growth that is remarkably stable across extensive sensitivity analyses of specification, time period, and country samples. In a series of now-common microeconometric approaches for addressing causality, we narrow the range of plausible interpretations of this strong cognitive skills-growth relationship. These alternative estimation approaches, including instrumental variables, difference-in-differences among immigrants on the U.S. labor market, and longitudinal analysis of changes in cognitive skills and in growth rates, leave the stylized fact of a strong impact of cognitive skills unchanged. Moreover, the results indicate that school policy can be an important instrument to spur growth. The shares of basic literates and high performers have independent relationships with growth, the latter being larger in poorer countries.

    • Hanushek, E. A. and Kimko, D. D. (2000) “Schooling, Labor-Force Quality, and the Growth of Nations,” The American Economic Review. American Economic Association, 90(5), pp. pp. 1184–1208. Available at: Link.
      • Abstract

        Direct measures of labor-force quality from international mathematics and science test scores are strongly related to growth. Indirect specification tests are generally consistent with a causal link: direct spending on schools is unrelated to student performance differences; the estimated growth effects of improved labor-force quality hold when East Asian countries are excluded; and, finally, home-country quality differences of immigrants are directly related to U.S. earnings if the immigrants are educated in their own country but not in the United States. The last estimates of micro productivity effects, however, introduce uncertainty about the magnitude of the growth effects.

    • Hendricks, L. (2010) “Cross-country variation in educational attainment: structural change or within-industry skill upgrading?,” Journal of Economic Growth. Springer Netherlands, 15(3), pp. 205–233. Available at: Link.
      • Abstract

        Educational attainment varies greatly across countries and within countries over time. This paper asks whether the variation in education is primarily due to industry composition or to within-industry skill intensities. The main finding is that within-industry variation accounts for at least two-thirds of the cross-country and the time-series variation in educational attainment. The within-industry education gaps are broadly consistent with a model of industry neutral cross-country differences in skilled labor productivity. These results suggest that theories of educational development should focus on skill upgrading within industries rather than structural change.

    • Hendricks, L. (2002) “How Important Is Human Capital for Development? Evidence from Immigrant Earnings,” The American Economic Review. American Economic Association, 92(1), pp. pp. 198–219. Available at: Link.
      • Abstract

        This paper offers new evidence on the sources of cross-country income differences. It exploits the idea that observing immigrant workers from different countries in the same labor market provides an opportunity to estimate their human-capital endowments. These estimates suggest that human and physical capital account for only a fraction of cross-country income differences. For countries below 40 percent of U.S. output per worker, less than half of the output gap relative to the United States is attributed to human and physical capital. (JEL O15, O41, F22)

    • Hsieh, C.-T., Hurst, E., Jones, C. I. and Klenow, P. J. (2013) “The Allocation of Talent and U.S. Economic Growth.”
      • Abstract

        Over the last 50 years, there has been a remarkable convergence in the occupational distribution between white men, women, and blacks. We measure the macroeconomic consequences of this convergence through the prism of a Roy model of occupational choice in which women and blacks face frictions in the labor market and in the accumulation of human capital. The changing frictions implied by the observed occupational convergence account for 15 to 20 percent of growth in aggregate output per worker since 1960.

    • Jones, B. (2011) “The Human Capital Stock: A Generalized Approach.”
      • Abstract

        This paper presents a new framework for human capital measurement. The generalized framework can (i) substantially amplify the role of human capital in accounting for cross-country income di\Serences and (ii) reconcile the existing conáict between regression and accounting evidence in assessing the wealth and poverty of nations. One natural interpretation emphasizes di\Serences across economies in the acquisition of advanced knowledge by skilled workers.

    • Kremer, M. (1993) “Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 108(3), pp. 681–716. Available at: Link.
      • Abstract

        The nonrivalry of technology, as modeled in the endogenous growth literature, implies that high population spurs technological change. This paper constructs and empirically tests a model of long-run world population growth combining this implication with the Malthusian assumption that technology limits population. The model predicts that over most of history, the growth rate of population will be proportional to its level. Empirical tests support this prediction and show that historically, among societies with no possibility for technological contact, those with larger initial populations have had faster technological change and population growth. Copyright 1993, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    • Lagakos, D., Moll, B., Porzio, T. and Qian, N. (2012) “Experience Matters: Human Capital and Development Accounting.”
      • Abstract

        Using recently available large-sample micro data from 36 countries, we document that experience- earnings profiles are flatter in poor countries than in rich countries. Motivated by this fact, we conduct a development accounting exercise that allows the returns to experience to vary across countries but is otherwise standard. When the country-specific returns to experience are interpreted in such a development accounting framework – and are therefore accounted for as part of human capital – we find that human and physical capital differences can account for almost two thirds of the variation in cross-country income differences, as compared to less than half in previous studies.

    • Lee, R. D. (1988) “Induced population growth and induced technological progress,” Mathematical Population Studies, 1(3), pp. 265–288. Available at: Link.
    • Madsen, J. (2012) “Health, Human Capital Formation and Knowledge Production: Two Centuries of International Evidence.”
      • Abstract

        Recent medical research shows that health is highly influential for learning and the ability to think laterally; however, past economic studies have failed to empirically examine the influence of health on learning, schooling, and ideas production; the main drivers of growth in endogenous growth models. This paper constructs a measure of health-adjusted educational attainment among the working age population based on their health status during the time they did their education. Using annual data for 21 OECD countries over the past two centuries it is shown that health has been highly influential for the quantity and quality of schooling, innovations and growth.

    • Manuelli, R. and Seshadri, A. (2009) “Explaining International Fertility Differences,” Quarterly Journal of Economics. MIT Press, 124(2), pp. 771–807. Available at: Link.
      • Abstract

        Why do fertility rates vary so much across countries? Why are European fertility rates so much lower than American fertility rates? To answer these questions we extend the Barro-Becker framework to incorporate the decision to accumulate human capital (which determines earnings) and health capital (which determines life span). We find that cross-country differences in productivity and taxes go a long way toward explaining the observed differences in fertility and mortality.

    • Mourmouras, A. and Rangazas, P. (2009) “Reconciling Kuznets and Habbakuk in a unified growth theory,” Journal of Economic Growth. Springer, 14(2), pp. 149–181.
      • Abstract

        Economic historians have debated the relative labor productivity of the United States agricultural sector during the 19th century. David (2005) offers a reconciliation of the opposing views by suggesting that while productivity per hour worked in agriculture was high, the number of hours worked per year was low. We model and extend a version of Davis’s reconciliation within a unified growth theory that connections the structural transformation away from traditional agriculture to several other features of United States development. Similar to David, our model predicts an almost two-fold annual workerproductivity advantage in the modern (industrial) sector of the economy, entirely due to greater hours worked per year. The dynamic general equilibrium model is consistent with the structural transformation having minor direct and indirect effects on aggregate labor productivity per hour, but substantial effects on aggregate labor productivity per worker. The model also provides a reasonable match to the trends in schooling, fertility, rates of return to physical capital, and labor productivity growth over the two centuries.

    • Parman, J. (2011) “American Mobility and the Expansion of Public Education,” The Journal of Economic History. Cambridge Univ Press, 71(01), pp. 105–132.
    • Preston, S. H. (1975) “The Changing Relation between Mortality and Level of Economic Development,” Population Studies, 29, pp. 231–48.
    • Pritchett, L. (2001) “Where Has All the Education Gone?,” The World Bank Economic Review. Oxford University Press, 15(3), pp. pp. 367–391. Available at: Link.
      • Abstract

        Cross-national data show no association between increases in human capital attributable to the rising educational attainment of the labor force and the rate of growth of output per worker. This implies that the association of educational capital growth with conventional measures of total factor production is large, strongly statistically significant, and negative. These are "on average" results, derived from imposing a constant coefficient. However, the development impact of education varied widely across countries and has fallen short of expectations for three possible reasons. First, the institutional/governance environment could have been sufficiently perverse that the accumulation of educational capital lowered economic growth. Second, marginal returns to education could have fallen rapidly as the supply of educated labor expanded while demand remained stagnant. Third, educational quality could have been so low that years of schooling created no human capital. The extent and mix of these three phenomena vary from country to country in explaining the actual economic impact of education, or the lack thereof.

    • Voigtländer, N. and Voth, H.-J. (2013) “How the West ‘Invented’ Fertility Restriction,” American Economic Review, 103(6), pp. 2227–64. Available at: Link.
      • Abstract

        We analyze the emergence of the first socioeconomic institution in history limiting fertility: west of a line from St. Petersburg to Trieste, the European Marriage Pattern (EMP) reduced childbirths by approximately one-third between the fourteenth and eighteenth century. To explain the rise of EMP we build a two-sector model of agricultural production?grain and livestock. Women have a comparative advantage in animal husbandry. After the Black Death in 1348?1350, land abundance triggered a shift toward the pastoral sector. This improved female employment prospects, leading to later marriages. Using detailed data from England, we provide strong evidence for our mechanism.

    • Weil, D. N. (2007) “Accounting for the Effect of Health on Economic Growth,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics. Oxford University Press, 122(3), pp. pp. 1265–1306. Available at: Link.
      • Abstract

        I use microeconomic estimates of the effect of health on individual outcomes to construct macroeconomic estimates of the proximate effect of health on GDP per capita. I employ a variety of methods to construct estimates of the return to health, which I combine with cross-country and historical data on height, adult survival rates, and age at menarche. Using my preferred estimate, eliminating health differences among countries would reduce the variance of log GDP per worker by 9.9 percent and reduce the ratio of GDP per worker at the 90th percentile to GDP per worker at the 10th percentile from 20.5 to 17.9. While this effect is economically significant, it is also substantially smaller than estimates of the effect of health on economic growth that are derived from cross-country regressions.

    • Weisdorf, J. L. (2008) “Malthus revisited: Fertility decision making based on quasi-linear preferences,” Economics Letters. Elsevier, 99(1), pp. 127–130.
      • Abstract

        Malthus’ (1798) population hypothesis is inconsistent with the demographic transitions and the massive income expansion observed among industrialised countries. The current study shows that eliminating the income-effect on the demand for children from Malthus’ theory makes consistent with industrial development.

    • Young, A. (2005) “The Gift of the Dying: The Tragedy of Aids and the Welfare of Future African Generations,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 120(2), pp. 423–466. Available at: Link.
      • Abstract

        This paper simulates the impact of the AIDS epidemic on future living standards in South Africa. I emphasize two competing effects. On the one hand, the epidemic is likely to have a detrimental impact on the human capital accumulation of orphaned children. On the other hand, widespread community infection lowers fertility, both directly, through a reduction in the willingness to engage in unprotected sexual activity, and indirectly, by increasing the scarcity of labor and the value of a woman’s time. I find that even with the most pessimistic assumptions concerning reductions in educational attainment, the fertility effect dominates. The AIDS epidemic, on net, enhances the future per capita consumption possibilities of the South African economy. \copyright 2005 MIT Press

    • Croix, D. de la and Doepke, M. (2003) “Inequality and Growth: Why Differential Fertility Matters,” American Economic Review, 93(4), pp. 1091–1113. Available at: Link.
      • Abstract

        We develop a new theoretical link between inequality and growth. In our model, fertility and education decisions are interdependent. Poor parents decide to have many children and invest little in education. A mean-preserving spread in the income distribution increases the fertility differential between the rich and the poor, which implies that more weight gets placed on families who provide little education. Consequently, an increase in inequality lowers average education and, therefore, growth. We find that this fertility-differential effect accounts for most of the empirical relationship between inequality and growth. (JEL J13, O40)