IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Diffusion of general-purpose technologies: understanding patterns in the electrification of US Manufacturing 1880--1930

  • Brent Goldfarb

I examine the diffusion of the electric motor between 1880 and 1930. I find that long lag times are determined by the degree of technical difficulty in application. After solutions became available, electrification generally proceeded rapidly. To make this claim, I explore three industries: urban transit, printing and paper making. I identify points at which viable electric solutions to particular problems were found and examine adoption patterns both before and after these events. The explanation contrasts with common demand-side explanations such as costly user-adaptation or information diffusion, and imposes conditions on the application of standard supply side models. The results are particularly important when examining the diffusion of broadly defined technological categories, such as general-purpose technologies. In the history of diffusion of many innovations, one cannot help being struck by two characteristics of the diffusion process: its apparent overall slowness on the one hand, and the wide variations in the rates of acceptance of different inventions, on the other. (Rosenberg, 1972: 191) Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Industrial and Corporate Change.

Volume (Year): 14 (2005)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
Pages: 745-773

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:14:y:2005:i:5:p:745-773
Contact details of provider: Postal: Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK
Fax: 01865 267 985
Web page: http://icc.oupjournals.org/Email:

Order Information: Web: http://www.oup.co.uk/journals

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:14:y:2005:i:5:p:745-773. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.