Discussion Papers, Center for European Governance and Economic Development Research 145
This paper proposes a theory for the gradual evolution of knowledge diffusion and growth over the very long run. A feedback mechanism between capital accumulation and the ease of knowledge diffusion explains a long epoch of (quasi-) stasis and an epoch of high growth linked by a gradual economic take-off. It is shown how the feedback mechanism can explain the Great Divergence, the failure of less developed countries to attract capital from abroad, and a productivity slowdown in fully developed countries. An extension towards a two-region world economy shows robustness of the gradual take-off and other interesting interaction between forerunners and followers of the Industrial Revolution.