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An Exploration of Technology Diffusion

  • Diego Comin
  • Bart Hobijn

We develop a model that, at the aggregate level, is similar to the one-sector neoclassical growth model; at the disaggregate level, it has implications for the path of observable measures of technology adoption. We estimate it using data on the diffusion of 15 technologies in 166 countries over the last two centuries. Our results reveal that, on average, countries have adopted technologies 45 years after their invention. There is substantial variation across technologies and countries. Newer technologies have been adopted faster than old ones. The cross-country variation in the adoption of technologies accounts for at least 25 percent of per capita income differences. (JEL O33, O41, O47)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 100 (2010)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 2031-59

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:5:p:2031-59
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  1. Comin, D. & Hobijn, B., 2004. "Cross-country technology adoption: making the theories face the facts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 39-83, January.
  2. Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2005. "Lobbies and Technology Diffusion," NBER Working Papers 11022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Jonathan Skinner & Douglas Staiger, 2007. "Technology Adoption from Hybrid Corn to Beta-Blockers," NBER Chapters, in: Hard-to-Measure Goods and Services: Essays in Honor of Zvi Griliches, pages 545-570 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  17. 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.
  18. Donald W. K. Andrews & C. John McDermott, 1995. "Nonlinear Econometric Models with Deterministically Trending Variables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(3), pages 343-360.
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  20. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A., 2005. "Institutions as a Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 385-472 Elsevier.
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  24. De Long, J Bradford, 1988. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1138-54, December.
  25. Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn & Emilie Rovito, 2008. "A new approach to measuring technology with an application to the shape of the diffusion curves," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 187-207, April.
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