Distance to the Technological Frontier and Economic Development
111 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2012 Last revised: 25 Oct 2016
Date Written: October 24, 2016
This research explores the effects of the geographical distance to the pre-industrial technological frontier on economic development. It establishes theoretically and empirically that there exists a persistent non-monotonic effect of distance to the frontier on development. In particular, exploiting a novel measure of the travel time to the technological frontier and variations in its location during the pre-industrial era, it establishes a robust persistent U-shaped relation between the distance to the pre-industrial technological frontier and economic development. Moreover, it demonstrates that isolation from the frontier has had a positive cumulative effect on innovation and entrepreneurial activity levels, suggesting isolation may have fostered the emergence of a culture conducive to innovation, knowledge creation, and entrepreneurship.
Keywords: Comparative Development, Geographical Isolation, Culture and Technology, Innovation, Technological Diffusion and Imitation, Patenting Activity, Entrepreneurship
JEL Classification: E02, F15, F43, N10, N70, O11, O14, O31, O33, Z10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation