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Five Facts You Need to Know About Technology Diffusion

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  • Diego Comin
  • Bart Hobijn
  • Emilie Rovito

Abstract

This paper presents a new data set on the diffusion of about 115 technologies in over 150 countries over the last 200 years. We use this comprehensive data set to uncover general patterns of technology diffusion. Our main 5 findings are as follows: (i) Once the intensive margin is measured, technologies do not diffuse in a logistic way. (ii) Within a typical technology, the dispersion in the adoption levels across countries is about 5 times larger than the cross-country dispersion in income per capita. (iii) The rankings of countries by level of technology adoption are very highly correlated across technologies. (iv) Within a typical technology, there has been convergence at an average rate of 4 percent per year. (v) The speed of convergence for technologies developed since 1925 has been three times higher than the speed of convergence for technologies developed before 1925.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11928.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11928

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  1. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2003. "Relative prices and relative prosperity," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
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  7. Susanto Basu, 1995. "Procyclical Productivity: Increasing Returns or Cyclical Utilization?," NBER Working Papers 5336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Baumol, William J, 1986. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: What the Long-run Data Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1072-85, December.
  9. De Long, J Bradford, 1988. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1138-54, December.
  10. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
  11. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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