Book Translations as Idea Flows: The Effects of the Collapse of Communism on the Diffusion of Knowledge
We use book translations as a new measure of international idea flows and study the effects of Communism’s collapse in Eastern Europe on these flows. Using novel data on 800,000 translations and difference-in-differences approaches, we show that while translations between Communist languages decreased by two thirds with the collapse, Western-to-Communist translations increased by a factor of five and quickly converged to Western levels. Convergence was more complete in more economically-useful fields such as the sciences, and was more complete in Satellite than in Soviet countries. These findings help us understand how institutions shape the international diffusion of knowledge.
Abramitzky, Ran, and Isabelle Sin. 2012. "Book Translations as Idea Flows: The Effects of the Collapse of Communism on the Diffusion of Knowledge," Motu Working Paper 12-05, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, Wellington.
Motu code: MWP1205
JEL codes: N0, N70, N74, F02, F15, P20, P30, P51, P52