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Measuring Technology Diffusion and the International Sources of Growth


  • Jonathan Eaton

    (Boston University)

  • Samuel Kortum

    (Boston University)


We describe a methodology to infer the extent of international technology diffusion and to decompose the sources of growth by nation. We compare the results from alternative implementation: of this methodology. A major finding is that the extent of international diffusion is substantial, with the United States contributing between a quarter to a half of the productivity growth in each of the other major research economies. Nevertheless, innovations do have a greater impact at home than abroad. For example. domestic innovations account for 60 to 70 per cent of U.S. growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 1996. "Measuring Technology Diffusion and the International Sources of Growth," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 401-410, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:22:y:1996:i:4:p:401-410

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Backus, David K. & Kehoe, Patrick J. & Kehoe, Timothy J., 1992. "In search of scale effects in trade and growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 377-409, December.
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    3. Samuel Kortum, 1995. "Research and productivity growth: theory and evidence from patent data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-2, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    7. Eaton, Jonathan & Kortum, Samuel, 1996. "Trade in ideas Patenting and productivity in the OECD," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-4), pages 251-278, May.
    8. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1991. "Quality Ladders and Product Cycles," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 557-586.
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    10. Gregory Mankiw, 1995. "The Growth of Nations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 275-326.
    11. Parente, Stephen L & Prescott, Edward C, 1994. "Barriers to Technology Adoption and Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 298-321, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kamilia Loukil, 2016. "Role of Human Resources in the Promotion of Technological Innovation in Emerging and Developing Countries," Economic Alternatives, University of National and World Economy, Sofia, Bulgaria, issue 3, pages 341-352, September.
    2. Pavel Ciaian & d'Artis Kancs & Julda Kielyte, 2016. "Migration to the EU: Social and Macroeconomic Effects on Sending Countries," EERI Research Paper Series EERI RP 2016/09, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
    3. Robert E. B. Lucas, 2001. "Diaspora and Development: Highly Skilled Migrants from East Asia," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-120, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    4. Branstetter, Lee G., 2001. "Are knowledge spillovers international or intranational in scope?: Microeconometric evidence from the U.S. and Japan," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 53-79, February.
    5. Eduardo Morales & Kamran Bilir, 2015. "The Impact of Innovation in the Multinational Firm," 2015 Meeting Papers 238, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Yasmina Reem Limam & Stephen M. Miller, 2004. "Explaining Economic Growth: Factor Accumulation, Total Factor Productivity Growth, and Production Efficiency Improvement," Working papers 2004-20, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    7. Crespo Cuaresma & Hlouskova & Obersteiner, 2008. "Natural Disasters As Creative Destruction? Evidence From Developing Countries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(2), pages 214-226, April.
    8. Connolly, Michelle, 2003. "The dual nature of trade: measuring its impact on imitation and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 31-55, October.
    9. Gehringer, Agnieszka, 2016. "Knowledge externalities and sectoral interdependences: Evidence from an open economy perspective," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 240-249.
    10. Elizabeth Webster, 2002. "Intangible and Intellectual Capital: A Review of the Literature," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2002n10, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    11. Luh, Yir-Hueih & Chang, Ching-Cheng & Huang, Fung-Mey, 2008. "Efficiency change and productivity growth in agriculture: A comparative analysis for selected East Asian economies," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 312-324, August.
    12. Raquel Ortega-Argil├ęs, 2013. "R&D, knowledge, economic growth and the transatlantic productivity gap," Chapters,in: Handbook of Industry Studies and Economic Geography, chapter 11, pages 271-302 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. Michelle P. Connolly, 1998. "The dual nature of trade: measuring its impact on imitation and growth," Staff Reports 44, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

    More about this item


    Diffusion; Growth; Productivity; Technology;

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence


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