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Lightning, IT Diffusion and Economic Growth across US States

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Author Info

  • Thomas Barnebeck Andersen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Jeanet Bentzen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Carl-Johan Dalgaard

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Pablo Selaya

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

Empirically, a higher frequency of lightning strikes is associated with slower growth in labor productivity across the 48 contiguous US 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 km 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.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 09-18.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0918

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Keywords: climate; IT diffusion; economic growth;

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Cited by:
  1. Areendam Chanda & Bibhudutta Panda, . "Productivity Growth in Goods and Services across US States: What can We Learn from Factor Prices?," Departmental Working Papers 2011-16, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
  2. Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck & Dalgaard, Carl-Johan, 2013. "Power outages and economic growth in Africa," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 19-23.
  3. Areendam Chanda & Bibhudutta Panda, . "Unbalanced Productivity Growth in US States: Evidence from Factor Prices," Departmental Working Papers 2012-04, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.

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