The wealth and poverty of nations reconsidered Jacob Weisdorf
This research project, funded by Carlsberg, involves a book that offers a fresh insight into the core drivers of long-term economic growth. Traditional explanations for the wealth of nations point to technical progress as the root cause of the triggering event: the industrial revolution. Recent research, carried out by the applicant and collaborators, suggests, however, that economic growth predates the industrial revolution by more than two centuries. The book argues that the onset of economic growth was prompted by 16th- and 17th-century working-class people who allocated increasingly more time to work and invested a growing share of resources in their children's education. Both features, central to the western world's road to riches, are strikingly absent in todays poorest countries. The book draws lessons from the historical experience of the west on how to end third-world poverty today.
Conflict and Development Paul Sharp
This research project, funded by the Danish Research Council, involves examines the homogeneous and peaceful population of Denmark is often contrasted with the heterogeneity and conflict of Ireland, and this project will use these cases to investigate the role of conflict for economic development. First, we will take up the ‘Creamery War’ in Denmark around the turn of the twentieth century, which pitted Grundtvigians against the ‘Inner Mission’ movement. Both sides established rival creameries, with potentially catastrophic effects on productivity and macrolevel development in the areas affected, both of which we will quantify. Second, we turn
to the US where the Inner Mission gained a large following among Danish immigrants. They argued for assimilation into American society, and we will study the role of this for the rapid integration and economic success of Danes. Finally, we will argue that introducing rival cooperative creameries to an environment dominated by large private operators led to conflict and exacerbated the already poor social capital in Ireland.