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

Listed author(s):
  • 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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File URL: http://econ.as.nyu.edu/docs/IO/9184/RR03-04.PDF
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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
Handle: RePEc:cvs:starer:03-04
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C.V. Starr Center, Department of Economics, New York University, 19 W. 4th Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10012

Phone: (212) 998-8936
Fax: (212) 995-3932
Web page: http://econ.as.nyu.edu/object/econ.cvstarr.html
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  1. John Laitner & Dmitriy Stolyarov, 2003. "Technological Change and the Stock Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1240-1267, September.
  2. Walter Adams & Joel B. Dirlam, 1966. "Big Steel, Invention, and Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(2), pages 167-189.
  3. Caselli, Francesco & Coleman II, Wilbur John, 2000. "The World Technology Frontier," CEPR Discussion Papers 2584, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. 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.
  5. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2001. "Cross-Country Technology Diffusion: The Case of Computers," NBER Working Papers 8130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1995. "Technological diffusion, convergence and growth," Economics Working Papers 116, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  8. Boyan Jovanovic, 1998. "Vintage Capital and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 6416, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. repec:fth:starer:98-16 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Endogenous Technological Change," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2135, David K. Levine.
  14. Francesco Caselli & Daniel Wilson, 2003. "Importing Technology," NBER Working Papers 9928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance John & Todd, Petra E., 2003. "Fifty Years of Mincer Earnings Regressions," IZA Discussion Papers 775, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. David N. Weil, 1996. "Appropriate Technology and Growth," Working Papers 96-24, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  17. Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1998. "Productivity Differences," Seminar Papers 660, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  18. 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 1072-1085, December.
  19. Simon Gilchrist & John C. Williams, 2001. "Transition Dynamics in Vintage Capital Models: Explaining the Postwar Catch-up of Germany and Japan," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-113, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  20. 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 1142-1165, December.
  21. Jan Eeckhout & Boyan Jovanovic, 2002. "Knowledge Spillovers and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1290-1307, December.
  22. Ali Bayar & Carlos Martines-Mongay & Paul De Boer & Bart Hobijn & Mehmet Teoman Pamukcu, 2001. "Did trade liberalization induce a structural break in imports of manufactures in Turkey?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/13518, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  24. Daron Acemoglu, 2001. "Directed Technical Change," NBER Working Papers 8287, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Bernard, A.B. & Durlauf, S.N., 1993. "Convergence in International Output," Working papers 93-7, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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  27. Bart Hobijn, 2001. "Is equipment price deflation a statistical artifact?," Staff Reports 139, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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