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

Diego Comin,
headshot of Diego Comin
Diego Comin Professor of Economics - Dartmouth College
Erick Gong, and William Easterly
William Easterly Former Brookings Expert

September 1, 2007


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.