According to the consensus view it was physical capital accumulation that primarily drove economic growth during the early socialist period. Growth models incorporating both human and physical capital accumulation (Caballe and Santos 1993, Barro and Sala-i-Martin 2004) lead to the conclusion that a high physical/human capital ratio can cause a lower economic growth in the long-run. In this paper we show theoretically and empirically that according to the logic of the socialist planner, it was optimal to achieve a higher physical to human capital ratio in socialist countries than in the West. Using a VAR analysis, we find empirical confirmation that within the Material Product System of national accounting the relative dominance of investment in physical capital accumulation relative to human capital was indeed more efficient than under an SNA system of national accounts.
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New Book: Agency, Gender and Economic Development in the World Economy 1850–2000
New GEHS book: Technology, Skills and the Pre-Modern Economy in the East and the West, editors Maarten Prak and Jan Luiten van Zanden
The Long Road to the Industrial Revolution available as print on demand paper back
Film impressions, Tine De Moor and Bas van Bavel of the CGEH explain the societal relevance of their research in short films