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General Purpose Technologies

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  • Boyan Jovanovic
  • Peter L. Rousseau

Abstract

Electricity and Information Technology (IT) are perhaps the two most important general purpose technologies (GPTs) to date. We analyze how the U.S. economy reacted to them. The Electricity and IT eras are similar, but also differ in several important ways. Electrification was more broadly adopted, whereas IT seems to be technologically more "revolutionary." The productivity slowdown is stronger in the IT era but the ongoing spread of IT and its continuing precipitous price decline are reasons for optimism about growth in the 21st century.

Suggested Citation

  • Boyan Jovanovic & Peter L. Rousseau, 2005. "General Purpose Technologies," NBER Working Papers 11093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11093
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    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • N2 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions

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