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An Intensive Exploration of Technology Diffusion

  • Diego A. Comin
  • Martí Mestieri

We present a tractable model for the analysis of the relationship between economic growth and the intensive and extensive margins of technology adoption. At the aggregate level, our model is isomorphic to a neoclassical growth model. The microeconomic underpinnings of growth come from technology adoption of firms, both at the extensive and the intensive margin. We use a data set of 15 technologies and 166 countries to estimate the intensive and extensive margin of adoption using the structural equations derived from our model. We find that the variability across countries in the intensive margin is higher than in the extensive margin. The cross country variation in intensive margin of adoption accounts for around 40% of the variation in income per capita.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16379.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Technology Diffusion: Measurement, Causes and Consequences (with Diego Comin), Handbook of Economic Growth, vol. 2 .
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16379
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Susanto Basu & David N. Weil, 1998. "Appropriate Technology And Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1025-1054, November.
  2. Rodolfo E. Manuelli & Ananth Seshadri, 2013. "Frictionless technology diffusion: the case of tractors," Working Papers 2013-022, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  3. Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn & Emilie Rovito, 2008. "A new approach to measuring technology with an application to the shape of the diffusion curves," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 187-207, April.
  4. Douglas Gollin, 2001. "Getting Income Shares Right," Department of Economics Working Papers 2001-11, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  5. Comin, D. & Gertler, M., 2003. "Medium Term Business Cycles," Working Papers 03-05, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  6. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 1996. "Returns to scale in U.S. production: estimates and implications," International Finance Discussion Papers 546, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Maddison, Angus, 2007. "Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199227204.
  8. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2001. "Cross-Country Technology Diffusion: The Case of Computers," NBER Working Papers 8130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Comin, D. & Hobijn, B., 2004. "Cross-country technology adoption: making the theories face the facts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 39-83, January.
  10. Clark, Gregory, 1987. "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed? Lessons from the Cotton Mills," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 141-173, March.
  11. Diego A. Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2008. "An Exploration of Technology Diffusion," Harvard Business School Working Papers 08-093, Harvard Business School.
  12. 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.
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