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Cross-Country Technology Adoption: Making the Theories Face the Facts

  • Comin, D.
  • Hobijn, B.

We examine the diffusion of more than twenty technologies across twenty-three of the world ’s leading industrial economies. Our evidence covers major technology classes such as textile production, steel manufacture, communications, information technology, transportation, and electricity for the period 1788-2001. We document the common patterns observed in the diffusion of this broad range of technologies. Our results suggest a pattern of trickle-down diffusion that is remarkably robust across technologies. Most of the technologies that we consider originate in advanced economies and are adopted there first. Subsequently, they trickle down to countries that lag economically. Our panel data analysis indicates that the most important determinants of the speed at which a country adopts technologies are the country’s human capital endowment, type of government, degree of openness to trade, and adoption of predecessor technologies. We also find that the overall rate of diffusion has increased markedly since World War II because of the convergence in these variables across countries.

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Paper provided by C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University in its series Working Papers with number 03-04.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cvs:starer:03-04
Contact details of provider: Postal: C.V. Starr Center, Department of Economics, New York University, 19 W. 4th Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10012
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Web page: http://econ.as.nyu.edu/object/econ.cvstarr.html
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  1. Caselli, Francesco & Coleman II, Wilbur John, 2001. "Cross-Country Technology Diffusion: The Case of Computers," CEPR Discussion Papers 2744, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Caselli, Francesco & Coleman II, Wilbur John, 2000. "The World Technology Frontier," CEPR Discussion Papers 2584, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1998. "Productivity Differences," Seminar Papers 660, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  4. Caselli, Francesco & Wilson, Daniel J., 2004. "Importing technology," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 1-32, January.
  5. Jovanovic, B. & Nyarko, Y., 1996. "Learning by Doing and the Choice of Technology," Working Papers 96-25, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  6. David N. Weil, 1996. "Appropriate Technology and Growth," Working Papers 96-24, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  7. Simon Gilchrist & John C. Williams, 2001. "Transition dynamics in vintage capital models: explaining the postwar catch-up of Germany and Japan," Working Papers 01-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  8. Paul Romer, 1989. "Endogenous Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 3210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. Baumol, William J, 1986. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: What the Long-run Data Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1072-85, December.
  11. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1997. " Technological Diffusion, Convergence, and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, March.
  12. Bernard, A.B. & Durlauf, S.N., 1993. "Convergence in International Output," Working papers 93-7, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  13. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A & Thaicharoen, Yunyong, 2002. "Institutional Causes, Macroeconomic Symptoms: Volatility, Crises and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 3575, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. James J. Heckman & Lance J. Lochner & Petra E. Todd, 2003. "Fifty Years of Mincer Earnings Regressions," NBER Working Papers 9732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Ali Bayar & Carlos Martines-Mongay & Paul De Boer & Bart Hobijn & Teoman Pamukçu, 2001. "Did trade liberalization induce a structural break in imports of manufactures in Turkey?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/13518, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  16. Edward C. Prescott & Stephen L. Parente, 1999. "Monopoly Rights: A Barrier to Riches," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1216-1233, December.
  17. John Laitner & Dmitriy Stolyarov, 2003. "Technological Change and the Stock Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1240-1267, September.
  18. Jan Eeckhout & Boyan Jovanovic, 2002. "Knowledge Spillovers and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1290-1307, December.
  19. Jovanovic, B., 1998. "Vintage Capital and Equality," Working Papers 98-16, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  20. Acemoglu, Daron, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809, October.
  21. Bart Hobijn, 2001. "Is equipment price deflation a statistical artifact?," Staff Reports 139, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  22. repec:fth:starer:9816 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Boyan Jovanovic, 1998. "Vintage Capital and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 6416, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. repec:rus:hseeco:72137 is not listed on IDEAS
  26. Chari, V V & Hopenhayn, Hugo, 1991. "Vintage Human Capital, Growth, and the Diffusion of New Technology," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1142-65, December.
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