Èric Roca Fernández

Èric Roca Fernández

Assistant Professor

CERDI, Université de Clermont-Auvergne


Èric Roca obtained his PhD at Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) the 6th of September, 2018. His research interests include comparative development and family economics. He is currently an assistant professor at CERDI, Université de Clermont-Auvergne.

  • Comparative Development
  • Economic History
  • Gender Economics
  • PhD in Economics, September 2018

    Université catholique de Louvain

  • Research Master in Economics, 2014

    Université catholique de Louvain


Solar Eclipses and the Origins of Critical Thinking and Complexity
Solar Eclipses and the Origins of Critical Thinking and Complexity

This paper relates curiosity to economic development through its impact on human capital formation and technological advancement in pre-modern times. More specifically, we pro- pose that exposure to inexplicable phenomena prompts curiosity and thinking in an attempt to comprehend these mysteries, thus raising human capital and technology, and ultimately, fostering growth. We focus on solar eclipses as one particular trigger of curiosity and empir- ically establish a robust relationship between their number and several proxies of economic prosperity. We also offer evidence compatible with the human capital and technological increases we postulate, finding a more intricate thinking process and more developed tech- nology among societies more exposed to solar eclipses. Among other factors, we study the development of written language, the playing of strategy games and the accuracy of folkloric explanations for eclipses, as well as the number of tasks undertaken in a society, their rel- ative complexity, and broad technological indicators. Lastly, we document rising curiosity both at the social and individual level: societies incorporate more terms related to curiosity and eclipses in their folklore, and people who observed a total solar eclipse during their childhood were more likely to have entered a scientific occupation.

Working Papers