Lightning, IT Diffusion, and Economic Growth Across U.S. States
AbstractEmpirically, a higher frequency of lightning strikes is associated with slower growth in labor productivity across the 48 contiguous U.S. states after 1990; before 1990, there is no correlation between growth and lightning. Other climate variables (e.g., temperature, rainfall, and tornadoes) do not conform to this pattern. A viable explanation is that lightning influences IT diffusion. By causing voltage spikes and dips, a higher frequency of ground strikes leads to damaged digital equipment and thus higher IT user costs. Accordingly, the flash density (strikes per square kilometer per year) should adversely affect the speed of IT diffusion. We find that lightning indeed seems to have slowed IT diffusion, conditional on standard controls. Hence, an increasing macroeconomic sensitivity to lightning may be due to the increasing importance of digital technologies for the growth process. © 2012 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.
Volume (Year): 94 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
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Other versions of this item:
- Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck & Bentzen, Jeanet & Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Selaya, Pablo, 2011. "Lightning, IT diffusion and economic growth across US states," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 2/2011, Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark.
- Thomas Barnebeck Andersen & Jeanet Bentzen & Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Pablo Selaya, 2009. "Lightning, IT Diffusion and Economic Growth across US States," Discussion Papers 09-18, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
- O33 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
- O51 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada
- Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters
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