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Five Facts You Need to Know About Technology Diffusion

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  • Diego Comin
  • Bart Hobijn
  • Emilie Rovito

Abstract

This paper presents a new data set on the diffusion of about 115 technologies in over 150 countries over the last 200 years. We use this comprehensive data set to uncover general patterns of technology diffusion. Our main 5 findings are as follows: (i) Once the intensive margin is measured, technologies do not diffuse in a logistic way. (ii) Within a typical technology, the dispersion in the adoption levels across countries is about 5 times larger than the cross-country dispersion in income per capita. (iii) The rankings of countries by level of technology adoption are very highly correlated across technologies. (iv) Within a typical technology, there has been convergence at an average rate of 4 percent per year. (v) The speed of convergence for technologies developed since 1925 has been three times higher than the speed of convergence for technologies developed before 1925.

Suggested Citation

  • Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn & Emilie Rovito, 2006. "Five Facts You Need to Know About Technology Diffusion," NBER Working Papers 11928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11928
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Susanto Basu, 1996. "Procyclical Productivity: Increasing Returns or Cyclical Utilization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 719-751.
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    3. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-351, March.
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    6. Hobijn, Bart & Franses, Philip Hans, 2001. "Are living standards converging?," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 171-200, July.
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    11. Baumol, William J, 1986. "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: What the Long-run Data Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1072-1085, December.
    12. Gort, Michael & Klepper, Steven, 1982. "Time Paths in the Diffusion of Product Innovations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 630-653, September.
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    More about this item

    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
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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