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The Diffusion of Innovations: A Methodological Reappraisal

  • Manuel Trajtenberg
  • Shlomo Yitzhaki

Studies of diffusion have traditionally relied on specific distributions-primarily the logistic- to characterize and estimate those processes.We argue here that such approach gives rise to serious problems of comparability and interpretation, and may result in large biases inthe estimates of the parameters of interest. We propose instead the Gini's expected mean differenceas ameasure of diffusion speed, discuss its advantages over the traditional approach, and tackle with it the problems of truncated processes, inter-group comparisons, and related issues. We also elaborateon the use of the hazardrate, and suggest some possible extensions. The diffusion of CT scanners is presented as an illustration.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1008.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1008.

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Date of creation: Oct 1982
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Publication status: published as Trajtenberg M. and S. Yitzhaki, "The Diffusion of Innovations: A Methodological Reappraisal." Journal of Business and Economics Statistics, Vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 35-47, January 1989.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1008
Note: PR
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  1. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1982. "Relative deprivation and economic welfare," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 99-113.
  2. Jennifer F. Reinganum, 1981. "Market Structure and the Diffusion of New Technology," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 618-624, Autumn.
  3. Romeo, Anthony A, 1975. "Interindustry and Interfirm Differences in the Rate of Diffusion of an Innovation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 57(3), pages 311-19, August.
  4. Shalit, Haim & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1984. " Mean-Gini, Portfolio Theory, and the Pricing of Risky Assets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(5), pages 1449-68, December.
  5. Jensen, Richard, 1983. "Innovation adoption and diffusion when there are competing innovations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 161-171, February.
  6. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1982. "Stochastic Dominance, Mean Variance, and Gini's Mean Difference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 178-85, March.
  7. Jensen, Richard, 1982. "Adoption and diffusion of an innovation of uncertain profitability," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 182-193, June.
  8. Dixon, Robert J, 1980. "Hybrid Corn Revisited," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1451-61, September.
  9. Louise B. Russell, 1977. "The Diffusion of Hospital Technologies: Some Econometric Evidence," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 12(4), pages 482-502.
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