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St Catharine’s Political Economy Seminar – ‘Time for Growth’

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Philippa Millerchip.

Date: Wednesday 21 November 2018 Time: 18:00 -19:30 Speaker: Lars Boerner Talk Title:‘Time for Growth’ Location: Ramsden Room, St Catharine’s College

Speaker Lars Boerner is Senior Lecturer in Economics at King’s Business School, King’s College London. He is an economist and economic historian who investigates the evolution and development of economies in the long run. He works in particular on the evolution of market and other allocation and clearing mechanisms, the effect of general purpose technologies for long run growth, and alternative ways to measure social and economic interactions in societies, i.e. comparing trade patterns and the spread of diseases. He has published, among others, in the Journal of Political Economy, Explorations in Economic History, and The Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics. He has earned his PhD in Economics at the Humboldt Universität Berlin and has been affiliated with the Department of Economics of the Freie Universität Berlin, Stanford University, the European University Institute, and the Department of Economic History of the London School of Economics and Political Sciences.

Talk Overview: Lars Boerner will present on the impact of the early adoption of one of the most important high-technology machines in history, the public mechanical clock, on long-run growth in Europe. Qualitative research as shown in terms of the introduction of clocks had an impact on coordination, productivity, and discipline and order in societies. However, these insights have not yet been linked to any research agenda in economic growth and development. Based on a quantitative analysis, Lars Boerner shows that the early adoption and diffusion of the new technology had an impact on economic growth in adopting cities and countries with high diffusion rates. Lars Boerner finds significant growth rates between 1500 and 1700 in the range of 30 percentage points in early adopter cities and areas. In the econometric analysis Lars Boerner avoids endogeneity by considering the relationship between the adoption of clocks with two sets of instruments: distance from the first adopters and the appearance of repeated solar eclipses. The latter instrument is motivated by the predecessor technologies of mechanical clocks, astronomic instruments that measured the course of heavenly bodies.

Please contact the seminar organisers Philip Arestis ( and Michael Kitson ( in the event of a query.

This talk is part of the St Catharine's Political Economy Seminar Series series.

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