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Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 B.C.?

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Publication Date: September 2007

Publisher(s): Brookings Institution

Author(s): Diego Comin; Erick Gong; William Easterly

Topic: Science and technology (Scientific equipment)
Social conditions (Poverty and homelessness)

Keywords: global economics; development; global poverty

Type: Report


We assemble a dataset on technology adoption in 1000 B.C., 0 A.D., and 1500 A.D. for the predecessors of 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 B.C. is associated with today's outcomes in some plausible specifications.