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The Spatial Diffusion of Technology

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  • Diego Comin
  • Mikhail Dmitriev
  • Esteban Rossi-Hansberg

Abstract

We study technology diffusion across countries and over time empirically. We …find signi…cant evidence that technology diffuses slower to locations that are farther away from adoption leaders. This effect is stronger across rich countries and also when measuring distance along the south- north dimension. A simple theory of human interactions can account for these empirical …ndings. The theory suggests that the e¤ect of distance should vanish over time, a hypothesis that we con…rm in the data, and that distinguishes technology from other ‡ows like goods or investments. We then structurally estimate the model. The parameter governing the frequency of interactions is larger for newer and network-based technologies and for the median technology the frequency of interactions decays by 73% every 1000 Kms. Overall, we document the signi…cant role that geography plays in determining technology diffusion across countries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) in its series INET Research Notes with number 27.

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Date of creation: 27 Mar 2013
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Handle: RePEc:thk:rnotes:27

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  1. Angus Maddison, 2005. "Measuring And Interpreting World Economic Performance 1500-2001," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 51(1), pages 1-35, 03.
  2. Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2003. "Cross-country technology adoption: making the theories face the facts," Staff Reports 169, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  3. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
  4. Basu, Susanto, 1996. "Procyclical Productivity: Increasing Returns or Cyclical Utilization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 719-51, August.
  5. Mark Rosenzweig & Andrew D. Foster, . "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Home Pages _068, University of Pennsylvania.
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521805247 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Peter Thompson & Melanie Fox Kean, 2004. "Patent Citations and the Geography of Knowledge Spillovers: A Reassessment," Working Papers 0401, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
  8. Diego Comin & William Easterly & Erick Gong, 2006. "Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 B.C.?," NBER Working Papers 12657, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. William R. Kerr & Scott Duke Kominers, 2010. "Agglomerative Forces and Cluster Shapes," Harvard Business School Working Papers 11-061, Harvard Business School, revised Nov 2012.
  10. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
  11. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521801386 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Bandiera, Oriana & Rasul, Imran, 2002. "Social Networks and Technology Adoption in Northern Mozambique," CEPR Discussion Papers 3341, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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