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Lightning, IT diffusion and economic growth across US states

Listed author(s):
  • Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck

    ()

    (Department of Business and Economics)

  • Bentzen, Jeanet

    ()

    (Department of Economics)

  • Dalgaard, Carl-Johan

    ()

    (Department of Economics)

  • Selaya, Pablo

    ()

    (Department of Economics)

Empirically, a higher frequency of lightning strikes is associated with slower growth in labor productivity across the 48 contiguous US states after 1990; before 1990 there is no correlation between growth and lightning. Other climate variables (e.g., temperature, rainfall and tornadoes) do not conform to this pattern. A viable explanation is that lightning influences IT diffusion. By causing voltage spikes and dips, a higher frequency of ground strikes leads to damaged digital equipment and thus higher IT user costs. Accordingly, the flash density (strikes per square km per year) should adversely affect the speed of IT diffusion. We find that lightning indeed seems to have slowed IT diffusion, conditional on standard controls. Hence, an increasing macroeconomic sensitivity to lightning may be due to the increasing importance of digital technologies for the growth process.

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File URL: http://static.sdu.dk/mediafiles//4/D/F/%7B4DF0F6B4-EB31-4005-AC6A-45D9C7EAAE87%7Ddpbe2_2011.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark in its series Discussion Papers of Business and Economics with number 2/2011.

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Length: 67 pages
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2011
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sdueko:2011_002
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark

Phone: 65 50 32 33
Fax: 65 50 32 37
Web page: http://www.sdu.dk/ivoe
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  1. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 1-32, March.
  2. 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.
  3. Robert J. Barro, 2012. "Inflation and Economic Growth," CEMA Working Papers 568, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
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  11. Mitchener, Kris James & McLean, Ian W, 2003. "The Productivity of US States since 1880," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 73-114, March.
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