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An Exploration of Technology Diffusion

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  • Diego A. Comin

    () (Harvard Business School, Business, Government and the International Economy Unit)

  • Bart Hobijn

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

Abstract

We develop a model that, at the aggregate level, is similar to the one sector neoclassical growth model, while, at the disaggregate level, has implications for the path of observable measures of technology adoption. We estimate our model using data on the diffusion of 15 technologies in 166 countries over the last two centuries. We evaluate the implications of our estimates for aggregate TFP and per capita income. Our results reveal that, on average, countries have adopted technologies 47 years after their invention. There is substantial variation across technologies and countries. Over the past two centuries, newer technologies have been adopted faster than old ones. The cross-country variation in the adoption of technologies accounts for at least a quarter of per capita income differences.

Suggested Citation

  • Diego A. Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2008. "An Exploration of Technology Diffusion," Harvard Business School Working Papers 08-093, Harvard Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:08-093
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic growth; technology adoption; cross-country studies.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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