How much does the past matter?

A lot, according to Comin, Easterly, and Gong:

We assemble a dataset on technology adoption in 1000 B.C., 0 A.D., and
1500 A.D. for the predecessors to today’s nation states.  We find that
this very old history of technology adoption is surprisingly
significant for today’s national development outcomes.  Although our
strongest results are for 1500 A.D., we find that even technology as
old as 1000 BC matters in some plausible specifications.

Here is the NBER version, here is a free version.

Comments

amazing...1000 BC?
Is this butterfly effect? A butterfly in 3000 years ago flipped its wing, and for that reason, we are now so
affluent?

Maybe RBC theorists would say, see, technology shocks are permanent, no matter how far back it goes.
this is not totally unbelievable, because,if your grandgrand...grand-father invested a dollar 3000 years ago,
and suppose the risk-free rate is 1%, then you now have 9207 billions US dollars, 170 times wealthier than
Gates.

My reasoning is: the early technology shock effect is not additive, but multipliable to our later wealth,
and therefore, the effects are long lasting.

At any point the oldest thought and technology forms the basis or foundation to all our modern day activities or outcomes. Even though the technology has attained advancement and complexity when compared to the earlier centuries, the values and the essence still remain the same. The modern technology has helped us to identify and understand to the extent of quantum. In general, an activity could be carried out either for a profit motive or for any particular cause. An insight into the literatures such as Vedas (1200 B.C.)1, Tholkappiam (500 B.C.)2, Arthasastra (Science of Material gain – 321 B.C.)3, Thirukkural (Sacred couplets – 1 B.C)3, which helps us to identify even with the advent of modern technology what we do is much similar to that of what our ancestors did. The way we do implies the changes on account of advancement yet, what and why we do is much similar or repetition of what our ancestors have done. The primitive technology is still used in the fields like agriculture, medicine (Ayurveda), etc. It would be wise to say that, what we are doing today is none other than the aggrandized version of our ancestor’s activities.

1- http://www.friesian.com/upan.htm
2- http://www.tamilnation.org/literature/krishnamurti/02sangam.htm
3- http://www.freewebs.com/nehu_economics-a/origin_economics.pdf
http://www.geocities.com/tamiltribune/03/1001.html

I can't help but wonder what the regression results would look like if he had included latitude as a regression variable.

I wonder how well that applies to China, which didn't really adopt much technology from the West or the Middle East, as well as states in the South East Asia like Malaysia, but have had fairly solid economic growth.

my world political forum

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