IQ in the Ramsey Model: A Naive Calibration
38 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2005
Date Written: July 2005
I show that in a conventional Ramsey model, between one-fourth and one-half of income differences across countries can be explained by a single factor: The steady-state effect of large, persistent differences in national average IQ on worker productivity. These differences in cognitive ability - which are well-supported in the psychology literature - are likely to be malleable through better nutrition, better education, and better health care in the world's poorest countries. A simple calibration exercise in the spirit of Bils and Klenow (AER, 2000) and Castro (Rev. Ec. Dyn., 2005) is conducted. According to the model, a move from the bottom decile of the global IQ distribution to the top decile will cause steady-state living standards to rise by between 75 and 350 percent. I provide evidence that little of IQ-productivity relationship is likely to be due to reverse causality.
Keywords: Economic Growth, Intelligence, Human Capital, Cognitive Ability
JEL Classification: O41, J24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation