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The Diffusion of New Technologies: Evidence From the Electric Utility Industry

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  • Nancy L. Rose
  • Paul L. Joskow

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of firm size and ownership structure on technology adoption decisions, using data on the electric utility industry. We argue that traditional models of technology diffusion are subject to sample selectivity biases that may overstate the effect of firm size on adoption probabilities. By extending conventional hazard rate models to use information on both adoption and non-adoption decisions, we differentiate between firms' opportunities for adoption and their underlying adoption propensities. The results suggest that large firms and investor-owned electric utilities are likely to adopt new technologies earlier than their smaller and publicly-owned counterparts. Moreover, the selection biases from conventional statistical models can lead one to overstate size effects by a factor of two and to understate ownership structure and factor cost effects by two to four times.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w2676.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2676.

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Date of creation: Aug 1988
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2676

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  1. Benvignati, Anita M, 1982. "Interfirm Adoption of Capital-Goods Innovations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(2), pages 330-35, May.
  2. Nickell, Stephen J, 1979. "Estimating the Probability of Leaving Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1249-66, September.
  3. V. Kerry Smith, 1974. "The Implications of Regulation for Induced Technical Change," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 5(2), pages 623-632, Autumn.
  4. Stoneman, P L, 1985. "Technological Diffusion : The Viewpoint of Economic Theory," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 270, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
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