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How Good Are Embodied And Disembodied Idea Flows In Bridging Income Gaps And Idea Gaps?

By Wei-kang Wong and Jel F

Abstract

Abstract: This paper empirically evaluates the relative importance of embodied versus disembodied idea flows in explaining income gaps and idea gaps. Trade is used as a measure of embodied idea flows and telephone call traffic a measure of disembodied flows. Since both trade and telephone traffic may be endogenous, this paper uses the geographic, linguistic, and colonial components of trade and telephone traffic as instruments to identify their effects on income and total factor productivity (TFP). The results provide little support for the embodied object models when both trade and telephone traffic are included in the regressions. Telephone traffic has a quantitatively much large effect on income per worker and TFP than trade

Year: 2001
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