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Neoclassical Growth and the Adoption of Technologies

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  • Diego Comin
  • Bart Hobijn

Abstract

We introduce a growth model of technology diffusion and endogenous Total Factor Productivity (TFP) levels both at the sector and aggregate level. At the aggregate, the model behaves as the Neoclassical growth model. Our goal is for this model to bridge the gap between the theoretical and empirical studies of technology adoption and economic growth. We bridge this gap in three important directions. First of all, we use our model to show how one unified theoretical framework is broadly consistent with the observed dynamics of both economic growth as well as of many different measures of technology adoption, like adoption rates, capital to output ratios, and output ratios. Secondly, we estimate our model using a broad range of technological adoption measures, covering 17 technologies and 21 industrialized countries over the past 180 years. This allows us to show how its predicted adoption patterns fit those observed in the data. Finally, we estimate the disparities in sectoral productivity levels as well as aggregate TFP that can be attributed to the differences in the range of technologies in use across countries. These disparities are almost completely determined by the quality of the worst technology in use, rather than by the quality of the newest technology that has just been adopted or by the number of technologies in use. Further, we find that the TFP component attributable to the range of technologies used is highly correlated with overall sectoral TFP differences across countries, though the variance is smaller.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10733.

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Date of creation: Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10733

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  1. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2001. "Cross-Country Technology Diffusion: The Case of Computers," NBER Working Papers 8130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2003. "Cross-country technology adoption: making the theories face the facts," Staff Reports 169, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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Cited by:
  1. Levon Barseghyan, 2008. "Entry costs and cross-country differences in productivity and output," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 145-167, June.
  2. Boyan Jovanovic, 2005. "The Product Cycle and Inequality," 2005 Meeting Papers 199, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Levon Barseghyan & Riccardo DiCecio, 2008. "Endogenous productivity and multiple steady states," Working Papers 2008-023, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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