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Innovation in academe: the diffusion of information technologies

  • Sharon G. Levin
  • Paula E. Stephan
  • Anne E. Winkler

This study investigates the diffusion of two early Information technologies across 1348 institutions of higher education: (1) the adoption of Because It's Time Network (BITNET), a precursor to the Internet as we know it today and (2) the adoption of the Domain Name System (DNS) with its registration of domain names, an essential feature of the modern Internet. We find that the time paths of adoption for both generally exhibit the typical S shape found for other innovations. We identify factors likely responsible for the patterns observed and in the process extend the scope of the diffusion literature by incorporating insights from the optimization behaviour of nonprofits. Using a proportional hazards framework, we find that faster adoption occurred among institutions focused on research and doctoral education as well as among select liberal arts colleges relative to nonselect colleges. Faster adoption also occurred for larger institutions, suggesting that they benefited from economies of scale. Adoption was slower for institutions having a larger percent of female faculty members. Also, there is some evidence to suggest that public institutions were faster to innovate than private institutions, while institutions in the South tended to innovate more slowly than institutions located in other regions of the country.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 44 (2012)
Issue (Month): 14 (May)
Pages: 1765-1782

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Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:44:y:2012:i:14:p:1765-1782
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