The scientific revolution and its implications for long-run economic development

Sibylle Lehmann-Hasemeyer, Klaus Prettner, Paul Tscheuschner

Publikation: Wissenschaftliche FachzeitschriftOriginalbeitrag in FachzeitschriftBegutachtung

84 Downloads (Pure)


We analyze the role of the Scientific Revolution in the takeoff to sustained long-run economic development. Basic scientific knowledge is a necessary input in the production of applied knowledge, which, in turn, fuels productivity growth and leads to rising incomes. Subsequently, rising incomes instigate a fertility transition and foster education investments. Together, the increasing stocks of basic scientific knowledge and human capital, and the concomitant reduction in fertility enable economic development. In regions where scientific inquiry is severely constrained—for example, due to religious reasons or due to oppressive rulers—the takeoff is delayed or may not occur at all. This shows the importance of investing in basic scientific inquiry when trying to achieve long-run economic prosperity. Our framework could contribute to the understanding of why sustained economic development emerged first in Europe and not in technologically more advanced China.
FachzeitschriftWorld Development
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2023