Germs, Social Networks and Growth

35 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2010 Last revised: 31 Aug 2012

See all articles by Alessandra Fogli

Alessandra Fogli

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Laura Veldkamp

Columbia University - Columbia Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 2, 2010

Abstract

Social institutions undoubtedly affect a country's economy. But how does this effect operate and how much does it matter for economic development? Using network analysis tools, we explore how different social structures might affect a country's rate of technological progress. The network model also explains why societies with a high prevalence of contagious disease might adopt growth-inhibiting social institutions and how small initial differences can produce large differences in incomes. Empirical work uses differences in the prevalence of diseases spread by human contact and the prevalence of other diseases as an instrument to identify an effect of social structure on technology diffusion.

Keywords: Growth, Development, Technology Diffusion, Economic Networks, Social Networks, Pathogens, Disease

JEL Classification: E02, O1, O33, I1

Suggested Citation

Fogli, Alessandra and Veldkamp, Laura, Germs, Social Networks and Growth (July 2, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1679857 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1679857

Alessandra Fogli (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis ( email )

90 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55480
United States

Laura Veldkamp

Columbia University - Columbia Business School ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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