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Cross-country technology adoption: making the theories face the facts

  • Diego Comin
  • Bart Hobijn

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 Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 169.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:169
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  1. Bart Hobijn, 2001. "Is equipment price deflation a statistical artifact?," Staff Reports 139, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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  9. 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.
  10. Bernard, Andrew B & Durlauf, Steven N, 1995. "Convergence in International Output," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(2), pages 97-108, April-Jun.
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  13. Jovanovic, B., 1998. "Vintage Capital and Equality," Working Papers 98-16, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  14. repec:fth:starer:9816 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. 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.
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  19. 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.
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  21. 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.
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  25. 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.
  26. John Laitner & Dmitriy Stolyarov, 2003. "Technological Change and the Stock Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1240-1267, September.
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