This dissertation studies the macro-economic phenomenon of convergence. Essay one finds that international knowledge inputs such as R&D have two properties which affect the convergence debate. First, differences in R&D investments contribute to divergence. Second, international R&D spillovers contribute to convergence.
An alternative to this "catch-up" perspective of the convergence debate is obtained by measuring inequality directly. The second essay finds that the international distribution of income has become more unequal over time. Cross-country differences in R&D significantly account for the changes in the global distribution of income.
The final essay examines whether institutions can affect the level of human capital variables. It historically examines the relationship between the growth of science in the 19th Century and a nation's dominant religious establishment.