IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Growth and Diffusion of Knowledge


  • Boyan Jovanovic
  • Rafael Rob


This paper analyzes a decentralized process for the diffusion of knowledge. In equilibrium, the economy converges from an initial distribution of knowledge over agents to the steady-state distribution, which is unique. Because of the public good aspect of information, too little learning takes place, and ideas are implemented too early. The key difference between earlier formulations of search externalities by Diamond, Mortensen, and Spence on the one hand, and our own on the other, is that here spillovers of knowledge depend not only on how hard people are trying, but also on the differences in what they know: if all of us know the same thing, we cannot learn from each other. The model also addresses the following two substantive questions: first, the relationship between inequality and growth, noted some time ago by Kuznets, and second, the effect on growth of improvements in the communication technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Boyan Jovanovic & Rafael Rob, 1989. "The Growth and Diffusion of Knowledge," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 569-582.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:56:y:1989:i:4:p:569-582.

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:56:y:1989:i:4:p:569-582.. 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: . General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Oxford University Press (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.