IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Lobbies and Technology Diffusion


  • Diego Comin

    (Harvard University and NBER)

  • Bart Hobijn

    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)


This paper explores whether lobbies slow down technology diffusion. To answer this question, we exploit the differential effect of various institutional attributes that should affect the costs of erecting barriers when the new technology has a technologically close predecessor but not otherwise. We implement this test using a data set that covers the diffusion of twenty technologies for 23 countries over the past two centuries. We find that each of the relevant institutional variables that affect the costs of erecting barriers has a significantly larger effect on the diffusion of technologies with a competing predecessor technology than when no such technology exists. These effects are quantitatively important. Thus, we conclude that lobbies are an important barrier to technology adoption and to development. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2009. "Lobbies and Technology Diffusion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 229-244, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:91:y:2009:i:2:p:229-244

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Per Krusell & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1996. "Vested Interests in a Positive Theory of Stagnation and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 301-329.
    2. Holmes, Thomas J. & Jr., James A. Schmitz, 2001. "A gain from trade: From unproductive to productive entrepreneurship," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 417-446, April.
    3. 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.
    4. James A. Robinson & Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Political Losers as a Barrier to Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 126-130, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Daveri & Maria Laura Parisi, 2010. "Experience, innovation and productivity. Empirical evidence from Italy's slowdown," Working Papers 1009, University of Brescia, Department of Economics.
    2. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli & Giovanni Immordino & Alessandro Riboni, 2013. "Legal Institutions, Innovation, And Growth," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54, pages 937-956, August.
    3. Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2011. "Technology Diffusion and Postwar Growth," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2010, Volume 25, pages 209-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Sampson, Thomas, 2013. "Brain drain or brain gain? Technology diffusion and learning on-the-job," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 162-176.
    5. Comin, Diego & Mestieri, Martí, 2014. "Technology Diffusion: Measurement, Causes, and Consequences," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 2, pages 565-622 Elsevier.
    6. Alberto Basso, 2015. "Does Democracy Foster the Fertility Transition?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(4), pages 459-474, November.
    7. Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2010. "An Exploration of Technology Diffusion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2031-2059, December.
    8. Sampson, Thomas, 2012. "Brain drain or brain gain? Technology diffusion and learning on-the-job," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51503, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Diego A. Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2009. "The CHAT Dataset," Harvard Business School Working Papers 10-035, Harvard Business School.
    10. Galang, Roberto Martin N., 2014. "Divergent diffusion: Understanding the interaction between institutions, firms, networks and knowledge in the international adoption of technology," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 512-521.
    11. Gino Gancia & Andreas Müller & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2010. "Structural development accounting," Economics Working Papers 1249, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Feb 2011.
    12. Diego Comin & William Easterly & Erick Gong, 2010. "Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 BC?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 65-97, July.
    13. Alberto Alesina & Joseph Zeira, 2006. "Technology and Labor Regulations," NBER Working Papers 12581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Diego A. Comin & Bart Hobijn & Emilie Rovito, 2006. "World Technology Usage Lags," NBER Working Papers 12677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Giorgio Bellettini & Carlotta Berti Ceroni & Giovanni Prarolo, 2013. "Persistence Of Politicians And Firms' Innovation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(4), pages 2056-2070, October.
    16. Venturini, Francesco, 2012. "Looking into the black box of Schumpeterian growth theories: An empirical assessment of R&D races," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1530-1545.
    17. repec:eee:eecrev:v:94:y:2017:i:c:p:126-147 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Thomas Sampson, 2012. "Brain Drain or Brain Gain? Technology Diffusion and Learning On-the-job," CEP Discussion Papers dp1168, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    19. Thor Berger & Carl Benedikt Frey, 2016. "Structural Transformation in the OECD: Digitalisation, Deindustrialisation and the Future of Work," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 193, OECD Publishing.
    20. Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn & Emilie Rovito, 2008. "Technology usage lags," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 237-256, December.
    21. Peter Linquiti & Nathan Cogswell, 2016. "The Carbon Ask: effects of climate policy on the value of fossil fuel resources and the implications for technological innovation," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer;Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 6(4), pages 662-676, December.
    22. Bellettini, Giorgio & Berti Ceroni, Carlotta & Prarolo, Giovanni, 2013. "Political persistence and economic growth," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 165-179.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries


    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:tpr:restat:v:91:y:2009:i:2:p:229-244. 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: (Kristin Waites). 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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.