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Zvi Griliches and the Economics of Technology Diffusion: Adoption of Innovations, Investment Lags, and Productivity Growth

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  • Paul A. David

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Stanford University)

Abstract

The first version of this paper was presented to the Conference on R&D, Education and Productivity, held in Memory of Zvi Griliches (1930 –1999) on 25-27th, August 2003 at Carr? des Sciences, Ministère de la Recherche, Paris, France. Gabriel Goddard furnished characteristically swift and accurate assistance with the simulations (and the graphics based upon them) that appear here (in Section 4). I am grateful to Wesley Cohen for his perceptive discussion of the conference version. In revising it for publication I have benefited also from the comments of Bronwyn Hall (particularly those clarifying several points regarding Griliches’ redirection of his empirical research toward aspects of technological change and productivity other than diffusion), and from the many suggestions for restructuring the paper that I received from two anonymous referees. Subsequent presentations of the material to the MERIT Workshop on Information Technology and New Industry and Labour Market Dynamics (held on 3-4 June 2004) at the University of Maastricht, and at the seminar of the Eindhoven Centre for Innovation Studies (on 17 November 2004) at Eindhoven University of Technology, provided stimuli to make still other improvements. Later conversations with H. Peyton Young on the general class “heterogeneous threshold” models of adoption have contributed to the paper’s present exposition of the challenges posed to empirical identification of alternative diffusion mechanisms. Lastly, but not least, the wise counsel and extraordinary patience of the editors, Jacques Mairesse and Manuel Trajtenberg, has been vital in bringing the paper to its present state. I am indebted to all those who have offered their help and insist that none should be held to blame for whatever defects and deficiencies remain.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 10-029.

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Date of creation: May 2011
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Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:10-029

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Keywords: technology adoption; innovations; diffusion; learning-by-doing; adopter heterogeneity; contagion model; threshold model; aggregate productivity change;

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  1. Whatley, Warren C., 1987. "Southern Agrarian Labor Contracts as Impediments to Cotton Mechanization," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 45-70, March.
  2. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2002. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization, And The Demand For Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 339-376, February.
  3. Bronwyn H. Hall & Beethika Khan, 2003. "Adoption of New Technology," NBER Working Papers 9730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2000. "Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 23-48, Fall.
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  10. Arthur Diamond, 2004. "Zvi Griliches's contributions to the economics of technology and growth," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(4), pages 365-397.
  11. Granovetter, Mark & Soong, Roland, 1986. "Threshold models of interpersonal effects in consumer demand," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 83-99, March.
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  19. Chris Forman & Avi Goldfarb & Shane Greenstein, 2003. "How did Location Affect Adoption of the Commercial Internet? Global Village, Urban Density, and Industry Composition," NBER Working Papers 9979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. repec:oxf:wpaper:303 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Rodolfo Manuelli & Ananth Seshadri, 2003. "Frictionless Technology Diffusion: The Case of Tractors," NBER Working Papers 9604, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Nile W. Hatch & David C. Mowery, 1998. "Process Innovation and Learning by Doing in Semiconductor Manufacturing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(11-Part-1), pages 1461-1477, November.
  23. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "Technology Adoption in the Presence of Network Externalities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 822-41, August.
  24. Paul S. Adler & Kim B. Clark, 1991. "Behind the Learning Curve: A Sketch of the Learning Process," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(3), pages 267-281, March.
  25. Stoneman, Paul L & David, Paul A, 1986. "Adoption Subsidies vs Information Provision as Instruments of Technology Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(380a), pages 142-50, Supplemen.
  26. Dixon, Robert J, 1980. "Hybrid Corn Revisited," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1451-61, September.
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  28. Harold M. Groves, Chairman, Universities-National Bureau Committee for Economic Research, 1962. "The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number univ62-1.
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