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Lightning, IT Diffusion and Economic Growth across US States

Author

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  • Thomas Barnebeck Andersen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Jeanet Bentzen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Carl-Johan Dalgaard

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Pablo Selaya

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Barnebeck Andersen & Jeanet Bentzen & Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Pablo Selaya, 2009. "Lightning, IT Diffusion and Economic Growth across US States," Discussion Papers 09-18, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0918
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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Manacorda & Andrea Tesei, 2016. "Liberation Technology: Mobile Phones and Political Mobilization in Africa," HiCN Working Papers 217, Households in Conflict Network.
    2. Gavazza, Alessandro & Nardotto, Mattia & Valletti, Tommaso, 2015. "Internet and Politics: Evidence from U.K. Local Elections and Local Government Policies," CEPR Discussion Papers 10991, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Areendam Chanda & Bibhudutta Panda, 2012. "Unbalanced Productivity Growth in US States: Evidence from Factor Prices," Departmental Working Papers 2012-04, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    4. Mathilde MAUREL & Charlemagne NIKIEMA, 2016. "Media and Political Participation in North Africa," Working Papers P166, FERDI.
    5. Areendam Chanda & Bibhudutta Panda, 2011. "Productivity Growth in Goods and Services across US States: What can We Learn from Factor Prices?," Departmental Working Papers 2011-16, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    6. repec:kap:jproda:v:48:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11123-017-0516-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck & Dalgaard, Carl-Johan, 2013. "Power outages and economic growth in Africa," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 19-23.
    8. Boerner, Lars & Severgnini, Battista, 2015. "Time for growth," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 64495, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    climate; IT diffusion; economic growth;

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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