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Distance to the Pre-industrial Technological Frontier and Economic Development

Özak, Ömer (2016): Distance to the Pre-industrial Technological Frontier and Economic Development.

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Abstract

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.

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